Taking a Scenic Tour of Big Bear Mountain, on Foot or on a Bike
Spring is almost here and pretty soon it will be summer once again. Spring break is a much-awaited time of the year, as schools close and it's time to plan a vacation. Whether you go with your family, by yourself or with some of your friends, one of the best things to do is to be outdoors and enjoy the cool temperature that is tempered by the sun. If you are looking for options, consider biking or hiking at Big Bear Mountain Resort in Southern California.
Visiting Big Bear Mountain is such a treat, whether you are from California or other states. The scenic landscape, the amount of activities you can do, the varied accommodation options and the affordable prices are too enticing and enchanting to pass up.
Hiking and Biking Trails around Big Bear Lake
The areas around Big Bear Lake offer six different hiking and biking paths and trails for every kind of skill and fitness levels. Big Bear Lake's north shore has an asphalt path called Alpine Pedal Path that is easily accessible and suitable for wheelchairs, strollers, joggers, skaters, bikers as well as hikers. Alpine Pedal Path begins at Stanfield Cutoff and terminates at the Solar Observatory.
Woodland Trail is a 1.5 mile easy loop that has got 20 marked stops. A pamphlet is available at the entrance so you can go on a self-guided tour that will take you along the trail so you could learn about wildlife, geology and botany in the area. If you have an Adventure Pass you can leave your car at the parking lot.
If you want a shorter trail that is easy to navigate you can take the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail, which is only 0.6 miles long, round-trip. It is a tad farther from Big Bear Lake on its south side. But this short trail allows you to have a pleasurable 30- to 45-minute walk along a stream amid green meadows and lush forest and will lead you to the Champion Lodgepole Pine, which is one of the world's largest. There are many Lodgepole pines in the area, although these types of evergreens are rare in Southern California. The particular pine trees have double tops. The "Champion" tree, which was discovered in 1963 has reached a height of more than 110 feet with a trunk bottom circumference of 22 feet. The very large base of the "Champion" is 36 feet. It is about 452 years old and started from seed around 1560. Be careful when you've reached the Champion tree so you do not step on the various wildflowers that surround the gigantic tree.
For moderately-skilled hikers, it could be an easy challenge to hike along the 2.4-mile long Castle Rock Trail, which is among the most popular trails in Big Bear. One mile east of Big Bear Dam along Highway 18 is the start of the trail. For the first half mile, the trail takes hikers on a steep climb before it levels out for 0.7 miles. When you reach the top where you'll find a beautiful granite rock outcropping, you will have a magnificent 360-degree view of the lush meadow and the valley.
Another moderate trail that could provide hikers with some challenge is the 6-mile round trip Pine Knot Trail that starts at the grounds of the Aspen Glen Picnic Area. The trail weaves through stands of Jeffrey pine and white fir and leads toward Grand View Point, which is at an altitude of 7,784 feet. It will take about three hours or less for an avid hiker to make the round trip on Pine Knot Trail.
Cougar Crest Trail is a challenge. The 4- to 5.5-mile long trail is moderate to difficult so it should only be taken by serious and physically-fit and well-trained hikers. It starts around 0.6 miles to the west of Discovery Center along Highway 38. It presents a variety of paths and varied environmental conditions. You do start off with a gentle climb uphill for the first mile but the trail leads upward until you reach the junction of the treasured Pacific Crest Trail, a very famous wilderness path that gives hikers several outstanding scenic views.
Biking Trails in Big Bear Valley
One of the best ways to start off your biking adventure at Big Bear is to take the Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair. The fun ride is three miles long and takes bikers and hikers to Grandview Point Junction, or on a longer ride to Grandview Point itself, which is 2.5 miles further. If you do not want to leave the sky chair, this is the best way to take in the beauty of the mountain.
Grout Bay Bike Trail is 13 miles long and suited for intermediate riders. The trail starts from Fawnskin Fire Station, then along a 2.5-mile ride to the campground of Hanna Flat. From there the main Grout Bay Trail begins at the campsite's back area and you will start a series of climbs and descents before you end back at Fawnskin.
If you an advanced or expert mountain bike rider, then challenge yourself at the 14.9-mile long John Bull Loop Bike Trail. The ride here requires you to have good navigation skills and stamina. The trail begins at Van Dusen Canyon Road. From there you ride for 3.5 miles to Holcomb Valley and go through a series of turns left and right at designated points until you reach The John Bull Trail at 3N10. Afterwards you go for three miles of technical riding before you reach 3N32 then take a right turn to 3N16, right at 3N09 and from there ride through to your starting point at 3N09 (Van Dusen Canyon Rd.).
Beginners and intermediate riders will be delighted at the 16-mile loop of bike path at Skyline Trail. This is located at Snow Summit's backside and starts at the junction of the U.S. Forest service roads 2N06 and 2N10. The Skyline Trail runs parallel to 2N10 and weaves from east to west and forms the anchor of the new trail system in the South Shore, which connects to existing biking and hiking trails.
While Big Bear offers some of the best mountain biking and hiking experiences for all types of bikers and hikers, your safety should be a priority. When going on a hike or a ride, be sure that you have the right footwear and clothing. Parts of Big Bear Valley are considered high desert so be sure to bring along plenty of fluids. It is seldom that you will have access to drinking water while you are in one of the trails and open water is not safe to drink.
Big Bear Valley is located at a higher altitude and you need to have more protection from the sun. Bring a hat with you as well as put on high SPF sunscreen as often as necessary. Always stay on the safe side and though cumbersome, do bring a survival kit with you. For hiking and biking, a typical survival kit has a thermal blanket or sheet of plastic, high-energy snacks, a pocket flashlight, matches, police whistle, metal mirror, a first aid kit and a windbreaker. Make sure that the flashlight is working and bring spare batteries as well.
Do not hike or bike alone and let someone know where you are planning to go and when to expect you back. Check the weather bulletin for the Valley and the time for the sunset so you can have plenty of time to go back before it gets dark.
Rustic and homey cabin rentals from Cabins4Less
Extend the pleasure of your visit to Big Bear by booking a cabin at Cabins4Less, which is centrally located to where all the action is. The rental cabins are equipped with modern amenities including modern bathrooms, heaters and thermostats, big refrigerators, pots and pans, dishes and flatware and ovens and stoves. All the cabins are roomy, rustic and cozy, giving you a feeling of going back in time and living the life of a pioneer. You have your own patio and front yard with a BBQ setup, chairs and picnic tables. You do not get burned by the scorching sun in summer as the cabins are built beneath the canopies of tall evergreens. The staff are super friendly and accommodating and are ready to provide assistance should you need it.
You do not have to leave your pets behind, either. Cabins4Less is the most pet-friendly cabin rentals in the area so your pets will have their grand time as well. With discounted bike rentals, all you need are your biking gear and your willingness to experience the great outdoors at Big Bear.