Big Bear Hiking Trails

Lodge Pole Springs Near the Lodge Pole Pine

Alpine Pedal Path Very Easy 3.5 miles long

This asphalt path meanders along the sparkling north shore of Big Bear Lake from the Stanfield Cutoff to the Solar Observatory. Although not flat by any means, its ups and downs are fairly gentle. In the Fall of 1998 the path was extended through a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 38 to the Cougar Crest Trail parking lot. The new path continues east .6 of a mile and connects with the Big Bear Discovery Center. There hikers can find water, bathrooms, and expert advice on all varieties of recreation in the San Bernardino National Forest.

Woodland Trail 1E23 Easy 1.5 miles long

This path starts and ends at the trailhead off Highway 38 just .2 miles west of the Stanfield Cutoff. It is an interpretive trail with 20 posted markers, ideal for families with young children. By picking up a pamphlet at the entrance, hikers can take themselves on a self-guided tour to learn about the botany, wildlife and geology of this unique area which is described as a dry woodland.

Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail IW11 Easy .6 miles Round Trip
Bluff Mesa Trail 1W16 Easy .8 miles Round Trip

To get to the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trailhead, which is on the south side of Big Bear Lake, you drive up Mill Creek Road (Forest Road 2N10) for 4.5 miles, turn right on 2N11 and continue for 1 mile to the trailhead. Then it’s a gentle walk down a path along a small steam for .3 miles. The trail ends at the Champion Lodgepole Pine, one of the largest known Lodgepole pines in California. Adjacent to the Champion Lodgepole Pine is a beautiful meadow, a tapestry of wildflowers in the spring. An interpretive brocure for the 15 makrers is available at the trailhead and at the Discovery Center. So please stay on the trails.

A companion path is the Bluff Mesa Trail which begins where the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail ends and travels in a northerly direction for .4 miles, ending at the popular Bluff Mesa Group Camp. This continuation trail is easy and recommended for families who would like a leisurely walk through beautiful stands of stately Jeffrey Pine. No bicycles.

Castle Rock Trail 1W03 Moderate to Difficult 2.4 miles Round Trip

There is very limited parking on the south side of the highway 50 yards east of the trailhead.

The most popular trail in the Big Bear Valley begins 1.1 miles east of the dam on Highway 18. Although not a long hike, the elevation gain is 500 feet, making it a steep climb by any standards. At the top of the ridge is an impressive granite rock out-cropping and the source of many tales and local folklore. If you trust your rock climbing skills and can claw your way on top of the rocks, the view of the lake is wonderful. The best part of this hike is that it’s downhill all the way home.

Sensitive Species Sign

Pineknot Trail 1E01 Moderate to Difficult 6 miles Round Trip.

The trail begins at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area and runs in a generally southerly direction until it reaches the aptly named Grand View Point, altitude 7,784. For the first 1.5 miles the hiker shares the trail with equestrian and mountain bike traffic as the trail winds its way up through stands of white fir and Jeffrey pine. Serious hikers make the 6 mile round trip in 3 hours or less. A family who plans to picnic at Grand View Point should plan on spending half the day leisurely enjoying the forest, the mountains and a great view of Big Bear Lake.

Gray’s Peak Trail 1W06 Moderate to Difficult 7 miles Round Trip
Hanna Flat Trail 1W05 Moderate 9 miles Round Trip

This trailhead is in the center of a bald eagle wintering habitat area and is closed to all public use from November 1 to April 1.

The trailhead for Gray’s Peak is located on the west side of Highway 38 about .6 miles west of Fawnskin across from the Grout Bay Picnic Area. The trail climbs westerly for .5 miles until it merges with forest road 2N04X. Turning north (right), 2N04X joins Forest Road 2N70 after .25 miles. Go straight; do not turn left. Then continue to the beginning of the Grays Peak Trail, 200 yards on your left. From there it is 2.75 miles to the top of Gray’s Peak. The trail fades as you get .25 miles from the summit, 7,920 feet, and it becomes increasingly more difficult as you climb up through buckthorn and over and around boulders.

The Hanna Flat Trail begins 50 yards past the Gray’s Peak Trail Sign on the right and continues for 4 miles to the Hanna Flat Campground.

Cougar Crest Trail 1E22 Moderate to Difficult 4 to 5.5 miles Round Trip

You can park for free until 6:00 PM in the summer at the Discovery Center and walk the .6 miles to the trailhead.

A well-maintained path through a wide variety of natural environments distinguishes the Cougar Crest. It starts .6 miles west of the Discovery Center on Highway 38. In the first mile there’s only a gentle uphill increase, but in second mile, you’ll realize that you’re gaining serious altitude. The Cougar Crest Trail ends at the junction of the Pacific Crest Trail (no mountain bikes), and a lot of hikers like to continue to the east (right) on a dirt maintenance road for .6 miles until they reach the summit of Bertha Peak, 8,502 feet. The peak is easily recognized by the large collection of transmitting equipment at the top. From the summit there’s a virtual 360 degree view of the Big Bear Valley, Holcomb Valley, and even the Mojave Desert.

For the truly inspired, one can continue along the world famous 2,600 mile Pacific Crest Trail which connects Canada to Mexico.

Forest Service Sign

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