There’s nothing like hitting the open road to unwind and cut back on the stresses of the daily grind. If you’re planning a thrilling getaway where you can enjoy a scenic drive, look no further than California’s Big Bear Lake. This iconic location in The Golden State’s San Bernardino Mountains offers hundreds of miles of trails, perfect for putting some miles on your car. Here are a couple of routes to enjoy scenic drives in Big Bear that offer a picturesque experience.
Rim of the World at Inland Empire
This 110-mile byway lies east of San Diego and offers stunning views of the San Bernardino Mountains. The route starts at Cajon Pass on State Highway 138 between the San Gabriel Mountains and San Bernardino. Numerous stops along the way offer beautiful backdrops and are perfect for snapping a few pictures. Silverwood Lake Overlook is a fan-favorite along this route and offers excellent views of the shimmering lake. You can embark on this Big Bear scenic drive year-round and experience the California landscape in a way you never have.
Butler Peak Trail
If you’re looking for a scenic off-road drive, look no further than Butler Peak Trail. The road runs through San Bernardino Mountains and features a bumpy gravel surface, making it better suited for four-by-fours. Butler Peak is the third most notable peak in San Bernardino and rises to an elevation of nearly 8,500 feet above sea level, offering impressive views of the surrounding area. The landscape features pine trees and low-lying shrubs, creating a spectacular backdrop. Although it’s only 14 miles long, Butler Peak Trail features plenty of beautiful sights and sounds for a Big Bear scenic drive.
Bertha Peak Trail
The eight-mile Bertha Peak Trail offers breathtaking views of cedars, pines, and the lake atop Bertha Peak. To get to Bertha Peak Trail, drive 2.9 miles east of Big Bear Lake Boulevard and turn left at the Stanfield Cutoff. Since the trail lies on the sunny slope of the San Bernardino Mountains, it remains more snow-free than other trails, making it accessible for longer periods of the year. The trail has partial paving, offering a relatively smooth experience, although it is well-maintained for most of the ascent. At the peak, you’ll encounter a few buzzing radio towers and a stunning view of the surrounding terrain.
Holcomb Valley runs a little over 26 miles from Green Balley Lake Road and culminates at the Dump Access Road close to Baldwin Lake. The area offers impressive views of local wildlife species, including a large population of black bears, so keep an eye out for the furry guys and gals. As you drive up, the road rises to an elevation of 7,500 feet, giving you an excellent vantage point to take in the scenery. Please note that non-street legal vehicles such as ATVs and buggies are not allowed on certain road sections, including parts of 3N16 to Green Valley Lake Road and 3N16 to the Dump Access Road.
Castle Rock Trail
Castle Rock Trail is a short drive from Big Bear Lake and lies along 40971 Northshore Drive on Highway 38. The trail sits in the majestic Castle Rock State Park where you can enjoy epic views of lush forests, sculpted sandstone structures, and breathtaking vistas. There’s a wide array of plant species, including Knobcone pines, Redwoods, and California Black Oaks. The park features 34 miles of rocky trails that connect to a wider trail system linking the San Lorenzo Valleys, Santa Clara, and the neighboring Big Basin Redwoods State Park. If you’re driving an electric vehicle, there are several charging stations to keep your car on the go.
Scenic Drives in Big Bear Should Include Pine Knot Trail
As you embark on a journey to Pine Knot Trail, you can look forward to majestic views of wildflowers, pines, oaks, and great views of Big Bear Lake. The trail rises to about 7,800 feet, offering jaw-dropping views of the San Bernardino area. Pine Knot Trail begins at the Aspen Glen Picnic Area and culminates at the Grand View Point, offering spectacular scenery year-round. To get to Pine Knot Trail, drive from Big Bear Marina, then head south on Paine Road. Next, turn left on Lakeview Drive, and finally take another left on Mill Creek Road.
Book Your Big Bear Vacation Rental
California has a reputation for being one of America’s most renowned vacation destinations, and it’s easy to see why. The Golden State offers pristine weather for most of the year and is home to some of the world’s most beautiful natural scenery. As you plan your next road trip, Big Bear offers scenic trails where you and your loved ones can enjoy plenty of fun as you take in the great outdoors. Contact us today to book your Big Bear vacation rental and choose from over 300 top-notch cabins, condos, and homes near the lake or on the sublime slopes.