One of the more popular hikes in Big Bear, the Cougar Crest Trail offers hikers spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding San Bernardino Mountains. 

On the north side of Big Bear Lake, just off the 38, you will find a turn off for the Cougar Crest Trail. The parking lot is well marked, and signs for the trailhead are easy to spot. Parking is not an issue if you come in later in the afternoon, but the hike can get crowded during peak hours. Follow signs towards the Pacific Crest Trail (the Cougar Crest Trail links up with the PCT). 

The path can be a bit rocky with a gradual incline so bring sturdy shoes and plenty of water! There are plenty of benches along the way where you can stop to take a break and enjoy the amazing views of Big Bear Lake and the wilderness. 

If you feel up to it, you can extend the hike and continue on the historic Pacific Crest Trail!

Pack List

  • Water
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Camera
  • Sunscreen
  • Snacks
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
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RT Distance 6.7 Miles
Elevation Gain 938 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Chilling air in a sunny day

Made this hike at the end of March in the middle of the week. Still cool when it's windy especially in the first half of the day, but the sun is already heating. Use warm clothes or wind-stopper. Met just maybe 7 people on the trail. This year Bear mountain still has a lot of snow, so you can watch beautiful white caps on the opposite site of the lake sitting on a bench or fallen tree at the end of the trail.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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