A trip to Big Bear just isn’t complete without a visit to the Big Bear Discovery Center. Located at 40971 North Shore Drive / Hwy 38 in the Fawnskin (North Shore) area, the Discovery Center was established in 1998 as an educational and informational portal to the San Bernardino National Forest. The Big Bear Discovery Center is co-managed by the non-profit San Bernardino National Forest Association and the U.S. Forest Service. Entrance is free and the facility is pet friendly.
Not only an excellent place to learn about the San Bernardino National Forest, the Big Bear Discovery Center’s services include: adventure passes that allow you to park your vehicle on forest lands and hiking & biking maps detailing hundreds of miles of trails – from short beginner hikes for the whole family to expert level hiking trails for the Lewis and Clark types. The center is the perfect place to obtain maps of forest roads, many of which originate from the immediate area. Once you have and Adventure Pass and some good maps to guide you, you can explore the amazing alpine back-country in your own vehicle and experience the Big Bear that few visitors ever get to see.
If you’re a little nervous about heading off into the forest by yourself, the Discovery Center offers guided off-highway adventures in specially built four wheel drive vehicles. Additional services include: camping information and guidance on making reservations, information on forest service permits for firewood and mining, naturalist-led tours, interpretive programs, and environmental education for school and scout groups.
Coming to the Big Bear Discovery Center in May 2013, the San Bernardino National Forest Association is excited to introduce the first Nature Explore Classroom in the National Forest system. Another new addition is the Nature Discovery Zone, an outdoor adventure space designed to enhance nature play and exploration while reconnecting children to nature.
The Big Bear Discovery Center is co-managed by the non-profit San Bernardino National Forest Association and the U.S. Forest Service. Entrance is free and the facility is pet friendly. Hours of operation are Thursday thru Monday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.