Climate & Topography

Eagles at Big Bear

Big Bear is located 100 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Bernardino National Forest, home to towering oaks, forest pines and the San Gorgonio Wilderness, the highest peak between the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range and the Mexican border at 11,400 feet. The wild lands of the San Bernardino Mountain Range were designated National Forest more than a hundred years ago. The forest contains approximately 672,000 acres with approximately 150 acres of wilderness trails, 352 acres of hiking, equestrian and biking trails, 23 acres of family campgrounds, 13 acres of picnic areas, 71 animal species and 85 plant species.

This area of the San Bernardino National Forest is home to the mountain lion, coyote, bald eagle, deer, black bear and hawk. One of the best places to view wildlife in Big Bear is at the Stanfield Cut-off, the causeway that crosses the eastern portion of Big Bear Lake. In the winter, watch for bald eagles and throughout the year you can see white pelicans, coots, great white herons, and mergansers.

Big Bear weather conditions provide unparalleled opportunities for solitude year round with an average of 320 days of sunshine a year. Big Bear temperatures can vary greatly with average daytime temperatures ranging from 48.0 degrees in January to 81.0 degrees in July. Precipitation occurs mostly between November and April with possible heavy snowfall in January and February. A normal winter season can bring 120″ of snowfall. Summers are pleasantly warm and dry with the exception of possible mountain thunderstorms later in the season.

Late spring and summer provide a colorful array of natural flowering vegetation, including the lupine, Indian paintbrush and the California wild rose. The corn lily, lemon lily, and leopard lily can be observed by the adventuresome hiker along streams, in meadows, and nestled among the mountain trails. A high desert climate is characteristic of the eastern part of Big Bear and Cactus Flats. This area contains pockets of marshes, springs, meadows and wetlands making Big Bear one of the most diversified habitats in the world.

Marsh on Sugarloaf Mountain

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