We live here and love it! This Community Guide will give you all the local information you need. Use this section to find community services phone numbers, church listings, health care, demographics and Big Bear History.
This is a reprint of an article published in the 40’s about Big Bear. The only correction made was an update to the population numbers. ENJOY!
The call of the wild! What pictures the phrase brings to the mind at this season, the spring of the year when the blood is pulsating with renewed life and when the spirit of man hungers for the outdoors.
Visions of pine-encircled lakes and tree-gemmed valley, there a jeweled mountain peak piercing the skies, and at the top of the trail great open spaces, where in the moonlight on cottage doorstep one may push away the trifling cares of the valley and get acquainted with oneself as a careless person. No wonder the wild calls to so many thousands each year.
And where could the wild be more fascinating than in the San Bernardino Mountains, or where its call more clear or more insistent? For the wild to the up-to-date traveler does not mean inconvenience; it is the call of the open in a land where every possible need of the traveler is catered to; where physical cares are sloughed off and the spirit is left free to drink in the beauty and peace of nature. Feeling this insistent call o’ the wild then, what more logical thing to do than to start in your automobile or take the bus and bring along your fishing equipment and hiking shoes and in the greatest of ease and comfort take a week-end trip over the sun-spangled Rim O’ the World to Big Bear Lake in the Valley of Big Bear.
Here you will find true hospitality and an ever-pervading spirit of the Old West and many places of historic interest dating back to the days of the Dons.
After leaving San Bernardino, which is sixty-five miles east of Los Angeles, you travel north, out Sierra Way and enter the mountains, traveling over high-gear road which is kept open throughout the year by an ever-watchful and highly efficient state highway crew. Winding and ever winding, you come upon sights that are thrilling and never to be forgotten, for the San Bernardino Mountains offer you some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
Words cannot tell of the wondrous beauties that may be seen here. In the old days it was a week’s journey from Los Angeles to Big Bear Lake, but now the trip can be made in three hours of careful driving. Big Bear Lake, forty-five miles east of the city of San Bernardino, in the heart of the San Bernardino mountains, at an elevation of 6,750 feet, spreads 72,000 acre-feet of water behind a multiple-arch dam 72 feet in height, is seven and one-hale miles long and averages one mile wide.
The Lake lies in a valley fifteen miles long and three miles wide, with gentle sloping hills, wooded to the shoreline of the Lake with large and small pine and fir trees.
The principal business center is Big Bear Lake Village, located four miles from the dam, on the south shore. It is a well-developed business center with grocery, meat and vegetable stores, hotel, cafes, curio shops, hardware stores, a theatre, dance pavilions, postoffice, stage depot, super-service stations, garages, real estate offices, cocktail lounges, large department store, ladies’ ready-to-wear shop, barber shops, and beauty parlors, shoe repair shop, ice distribution depot, commercial boat landings, saddle liveries, shooting gallery and amusement center and seventy camps, each having from six to fifty cabins each.
The population of Big Bear Lake ranges from 20,00 people making their permanent homes to 100,000 people on holidays such as Decoration Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and NewYears.
Big Bear Lake has furnished the setting for many motion pictures, and location scouts have stated that Big Bear Lake can furnish more diversified scenery than any other mountain resort in California.
These companies furnish a large revenue to the merchants of Big Bear Lake and extend the seasons as they prefer the spring and fall of the year because of the better lighting effects.
Following is a partial list of pictures taken at Big Bear Lake and an estimated amount of expenditures for locations, cost of sets, hotel lodging and meals, local labor, garage bills as well as the amount expended by members of the company for individuals.
1. “Trail of the Lonesome Pine” made by the Walter Wanger Company…$200,000.00 2. “In Person” made by RKO…$75,000.00 3. “Having a wonderful time” made by RKO…$110,000.00 4. “Daniel Boone” made by Herlima Productions…$90,000.00 5. “None of Your Business” made by Paramount…$35,000.00 6. “Heart of the North” made by Warner Bros….$75,000.00 7. “Untamed” made by Paramount…$35,000.00 8. “Brigham Young” made by Fox Production…$90,000.00 9. “Shepherd of the Hills” made by Paramount…$175,000.00
The Paramount Company has filmed fifteen Westerns, some of which are Nevada, West of the Pecos, Arizona Mahoney, etc.
Estimated amount of expenditures $300,000.00 or approximately $20,000.00 per picture. Many independent companies have also taken pictures at Big Bear Lake with an expenditure of from $3,000.00 to $5,000.00.
Very few strangers, even the people who make yearly visits to Big Bear, ever think of anything in these mountains except the lake, which lies in the center of the valley. For those who are willing to expend the energy, there are many trails leading to some of nature’s most beautiful spots. The views to be seen are incomparable, and the true appreciation of Big Bear cannot be realized unless several days are spent in wandering through these mountains.
Aside from driving and hiking to the beauty spots of the Valley, there is a variety of other amusements to be enjoyed. Big Bear Lake itself has much to offer to the pleasure-seeker. Swimming and tennis are open to all. In the evening dancing is provided with orchestras and glistening dance floors. In short, life may be one ceaseless round of activity and pleasure in Big Bear.
Big Bear Lake is considered one of the country’s best health resorts for those suffering with asthma and like ailments, and many sufferers after visiting here return to make it their permanent home.
Fishing season starts on May 1st, and many thousands come to Big Bear Lake each year to enjoy the sport. Unlike many other districts, Big Bear Lake’s season is open on all fish at the same time. There is an abundance of Bass, Crappie and Blue Gill and the women and children spend many enjoyable hour fishing for them.
Six-inch trout are planted in Big Bear Lake each year by the State Fish and Game Commission. One million Rainbow eggs are taken each year for replanting in Big Bear Lake and other waters of Southern California.
Boat rentals rates are comparatively lower than many other places in the state.
Wild animals in and around Big Bear: Adorned Shrew Sierra Chipmunk Amer. Bay Lynx (bobcat) Kangaroo Rat Antelope chipmunk Long Legged Bat Anthony Gray Squirrel Merriman Chipmunk Badger Mink Banning Wood Rat Mojave Desert Gopher Brown Bear Mountain Lion California Bat Mountain Sheep California Blacktailed Deer Raccoon California Gray Fox Red Fox California Meadow Mouse San Bernardino Chipmunk California Mule Deer San Bernardino Flying Squirrel Civet Cat San Bernardino Spermophile (Red-headed Chipmunk) Cottontail Rabbit So. California Skunk Coyote Wild Goat Desert Jackrabbit Desert Swift Fisher Ground Squirrel
Game Birds: Avoset Butter Ball Blue Wing Teal Canvas Back Bufflehead Chinese Pheasant Doves Redheads Gadwall Ruddy Duck Golden Mantle Spoonbill Greater Bluebill Sprig Green Wing Teal Teal (cinnamon) Jacksnipe Valley Quail Lesser Bluebill Widgeon Mallard Wild Geese Mountain Quail Wild Pigeon Mudhen (coots) Wild Turkey
You will also find a variety of 65 Beautiful Birds in and around Big Bear, of which some of the more uncommon specimens are here listed.
Allen Humming Bird Olive Sided Flycatcher Bullock Oriole Pacific Nighthawk California Yellow Warbler Red-Shafted Flicker Green-tailed Towhee Say Phoebes Horned Owl Tolmie Warbler Laurence Gold finch Violet Green Swallow Mountain Chickadee Western Bluebird Nuttall Woodpecker White-Throated Swift
Here you will also find a variety of 25 trees and a great quantity of flora and fauna which will delight the heart of the naturalist. The mineralogist will also have a thrill in store for him as fold and other minerals are still being found in these mountains.
Big Bear Lake is the coming recreation center of all southern California for Winter sports. Ski equipment, toboggans, sleds, skates, etc., may be obtained at very nominal rates. Every need of the winter sportsman is carefully attended to by those who have the visitors’ interest at heart.
Let us visit Holcomb Valley just over the hill from Big Bear Lake to the north and relive the days when history was in the making during the gold rush days of the old California, visit all the points of interest. Go up Marble Canyon and Burnt Flat to the rim where you may look down hundreds of feet to the far-stretching desert below and wonder how it all could be; and then return by way of historic old Doble Mine to a point where you may see mountains, lake and desert at the same time.
When your feet begin to itch And your mind begins to rove, Come up to old Bear Valley, The place you will always love.
Where God is in His heaven And all is well with Him, Where health is wealth, my brother, And friendship never dims.
Where the sweet songbirds warble Where beauteous flowers bloom, And all outdoors is heaven Clear up to the moon.
So pack your duds and duffle And come along, I say, Do not linger longer, Get on your way today!
Up winding trails, through Forest Glen And bring along your Sally, And Mary and Pete and Lucy and John To dear old Bear Valley. –MacCallum.