Learn More About Hiking in Big Bear and Trails | Big Bear Vacations

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Hiking Journey to Big Bear

Taking time to unwind in Big Bear is worth your while year-round, particularly for those that harbor a passion for outdoor adventure. Surrounded by the scenic San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear is known for its many mountain trails that call to those who love to lace up their boots and trek their way to adventure. When you’re in the area specifically to make the most of moments out on these scenic pathways, there are a few hiking in Big Bear routes you just won’t want to miss out on!

Castle Rock Trail

While there are many trails to choose from in this area, many tend to agree that Castle Rock Trail ranks among the best with good reason. Densely forested with boulder outcroppings and a seasonal waterfall, this is a gorgeous hike any time of year. The seasonal creek in the spring and the autumn leaves in the fall make this a favorite hiking trail for locals and visitors. Castle Rock itself is an impressive granite outcropping with panoramic views of Big Bear Lake.

This scenic and enjoyable route is accessible just over a mile East of Big Bear Dam, providing a great follow up to discovering this area. Boasting an elevation gain of 500-feet, hikers that are looking for a steep challenge paired with sweeping views will find everything they’re looking for and more. Set aside enough time to cover the 2.5 miles this trail hosts and keep your eyes peeled for fascinating wildlife within the wooded terrain, or if you are lucky, you may get to watch rock climbers scaling the steeper side as you make your way around Castle Rock. This trail has a steep climb that will get your heart pumping for the first half-mile and then levels out as you make your way towards Castle Rock.

Alpine Pedal Path

If you’re enjoying a journey with the entire family, or you prefer to take to the Big Bear trails with a bit more ease, the Alpine Pedal Path is a great choice. Accessible at 740 Stanfield Cutoff, the Alpine Pedal Path is a paved route that’s popular amongst hikers, walkers, bikers, and runners alike. At just under 3.5 miles, the Alpine Pedal Path circles the northern end of the lake, offering beautiful views and a tranquil route to enjoying the day outdoors. Those that are passionate about birding will want to note that this path is a popular spot for observing bald eagles at certain times of the year.

Pine Knot Trail 1E01

Immerse yourself in pine tree surroundings complete with wildflowers and lake views when you set your sights on the Pine Knot Trail 1E01 during your journey to Big Bear. Accessed at Mill Creek Road, the Pine Knot Trail 1E01 trailhead is close to the Aspen Glen picnic area, making it worth your time to enjoy a snack before or after a trek surrounded by forested terrain. The trail winds through stands of white fir, Jeffrey pine, oaks, and manzanitas, crosses the road at the 2N08, skirts alongside the Deer Group Camp, and leads to the 2N10, where another sign will point you to Grandview Point.

Follow this trail for another quarter mile to top out at 7,784’ with spectacular views of Mt. San Gorgonio. Lots of up and down on this trail with beautiful forest views. Avid hikers make the round-trip hike in three hours or less. Families can pack in a picnic and have a wonderful half-day adventure. Just over 3 miles of moderately difficult hiking awaits on the Pine Knot Trail 1E01 which is also popular amongst mountain bikers.

Cougar Crest Trail

Traveling through a wide variety of natural environments, you can see everything from towering pine trees to twisting junipers to red-barked manzanitas to spiny cactus. You may see bobcats or lizards, and always remember to keep an eye out for rattlesnakes. The first mile of this hiking and biking trail is a gentle uphill climb, then you start really gaining altitude. Beautiful lake views and benches for resting are near the top. The Cougar Crest Trail ends at the junction of the world-famous 2,600-mile-long Pacific Crest Trail. From here you can continue to Bertha Peak.

Another steep .75-mile hike takes you to the top where you get sweeping views of Big Bear Valley and the high desert. Cougar Crest Trail starts .6 miles west of the Discovery Center on Hwy 38. This trailhead parking lot does require an adventure pass or an America the Beautiful Pass to park here. You can park for free at the Discovery Center parking lot and take their paved path over to the trailhead or purchase one of these two passes in advance.

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