Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake in California is a must-visit for outdoor adventures. The Castle Rock Trail is a top choice for hiking, offering a moderate difficulty level and a scenic backdrop of the lake and surrounding forest. The trail is just over 2.6 miles round trip and is known for its large granite rock formation at the peak. Another top trail is Pine Knot Trail, which winds through a forest of pine and oak trees, leading to a vista point with panoramic views of the lake and mountains. For water activities, Big Bear Lake itself is a hub for fishing, boating, and jet-skiing. Nearby, the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain offers year-round bobsledding. These are just a few of the best trails and outdoor activities available in and near Big Bear Lake.

Top Spots in and near Big Bear Lake

  • Big Bear Lake, California

    Knickerbocker Road & Pine Knot Trail

    5.0
    6.1 mi / 1007 ft gain
    Park at the free parking lot behind the village off Knickerbocker Rd between Village Drive and Pedder Road. Ride up Knickerbocker Rd towards the mountain. Look out for the fire service road 2N08 that veers left and uphill. The first 2 miles are challenging steep uphill, but beautiful nonetheless....
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  • Big Bear Lake, California

    Grand View Point

    6.9 mi / 1312 ft gain
    Grand View Point is accessed via Pine Knot Trail, a 6.5 mile out and back hiking trail located at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area, 1 mile from Big Bear Village. With its close proximity to town, Pine Knot Trail is popular in the summer with mountain bikers and the trailhead is often crowded in the win...
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  • Big Bear, California

    Cougar Crest Trail

    5.0
    5.57 mi / 892 ft gain
    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. Fo...
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  • Big Bear, California

    Alpine Pedal Path

    5.0
    5.08 mi / 292 ft gain
    Alpine Pedal Path is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Big Bear Lake, California.
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  • Fawnskin, California

    Grays Peak Trail

    1.0
    6.95 mi / 1293 ft gain
    This is a fairly easy mountain peak to climb.  The trailhead is easily accessible right off of Hwy 38 by the town of Fawnskin.  There is a large National Forest sign noting the parking area to Grays Peak Trail.  Note that parking in this lot requires either a day pass or a California Adventure pa...
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  • Fawnskin, California

    Castle Rock Trail at Big Bear Lake

    4.5
    2.7 mi / 719 ft gain
    Follow the directions to the trail head, and park on the side of the road. You will see a sign that says Castle Rock Trail, and the path is directly behind that sign. The hike up to the peak is steep, sandy, and very rocky, so shoes with good traction is recommended. There are also lots of oak a...
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  • Fawnskin, California

    Pine Oak Lane Beach

    Pine Oak Lane Beach, is located on the western side of Big Bear Lake. Whether you're seeking a tranquil escape or an action-packed day on the water, this scenic beach has something for everyone. Activities: At Pine Oak Lane Beach, you can enjoy a variety of recreational activities, including swi...
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  • Big Bear, California

    Holcomb Valley Campground

    This campground is awesome! With great views, plenty of space and clean bathrooms it'll have you in for a treat! Whether it be a multiple day trip or just one night this campground is awesome. Read below for information if you are looking for a trip in the mountains! Cost: This campground is a ...
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  • Big Bear, California

    Explore Van Dusen Cabin

    4.0
    This is a great day trip to spend in the mountains. from Highway 18 at the Big Bear Dam you turn left onto highway 38 around the north shore of Big Bear. Continue till you see the sign Van Dusen Rd and turn left. The paved road takes you through residential neighborhoods where the dirt road begin...
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  • Big Bear, California

    Rock Climb Holcomb Valley

    5.0
    Most of the drive to Holcomb Valley is done on regular paved roads until about the last hour when you get above Big Bear Lake and you start your journey on dirt roads. The road is extremely bumpy and has lots of pot holes but there are generally quite a few cars up there that don't have 4 wheel d...
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  • Angelus Oaks, California

    Jenks Lake

    4.0
    0.77 mi / 49 ft gain
    If you want to experience beauty and solitude in SoCal look no further than Jenks Lake. Not too far from Big Bear Lake, but secluded enough to keep most away in the winter, Jenks Lake is a small but lovely alpine lake near HWY 38 in Angelus Oaks. Driving to the lake is beautiful in itself as HWY...
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  • Angelus Oaks, California

    South Fork to Dollar Lake Trail

    11.3 mi / 449 ft gain
    South Fork to Dollar Lake Trail is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a lake located near Banning, California.
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  • San Bernardino County, California

    Off-Road Jacoby Canyon

    2.9 mi
    This is now my favorite trail in the San Bernardino National Forest. Ranging from desert scenes at the bottom and pine trees at the top, you experience such high levels of outdoors feel you can't resist. This trail has so many awesome spots for camping and off-roading that it has a great mix for ...
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  • Angelus Oaks, California

    San Bernardino Peak

    3.0
    15.82 mi / 4911 ft gain
    The San Bernadino Peak Trail out of Angelus Oaks is a very challenging hike, which can either be done as a day hike or an overnight trip. Free permits are required for day hiking and overnights in the San Gorgonio Wilderness. These permits can be accessed via Sgwa.org/permits.  If you choose to ...
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  • Forest Falls, California

    Summit Mt. San Bernardino from Angelus Oaks

    16 mi / 4775 ft gain
    The trailhead is somewhat 'interesting' to get to given the dirt roads are in questionable shape and some of the roads in Angelus Oaks are not easily identifiable but I didn't have any problems finding it by closely following Google Maps.    Trailhead parking requires an Adventure Pass parking pe...
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  • Forest Falls, California

    Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak

    17.83 mi / 5627 ft gain
    Vivian Creek Trail to San Gorgonio Peak is an out-and-back trail that takes you by a waterfall located near Forest Falls, California.
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Camping and Lodging in Big Bear Lake

Serrano
San Bernardino County, California

Serrano

Deer Group Camp
Big Bear Lake, California

Deer Group Camp

Pineknot
Big Bear Lake, California

Pineknot

Bluff Mesa Group Camp
Angelus Oaks, California

Bluff Mesa Group Camp

Boulder Group Camp
Angelus Oaks, California

Boulder Group Camp

Grays Peak Group Camp
Fawnskin, California

Grays Peak Group Camp

Guides, Insights and Stories from Big Bear Lake

Photo Essay: One Day in Joshua Tree National Park

Photo Essay: One Day in Joshua Tree National Park

Kevin Tangney

5 Things to Know Before Adventuring in Joshua Tree National Park

5 Things to Know Before Adventuring in Joshua Tree National Park

Brynn Schmidt

Check out these Native American businesses in CA

Check out these Native American businesses in CA

The Outbound Collective

Do Not Eat Hot Wings Before Hiking

Do Not Eat Hot Wings Before Hiking

Aaron Rickel Jones

Two Native-owned and -operated organizations to support in CA

Two Native-owned and -operated organizations to support in CA

The Outbound Collective