Updated: Sep 21
So you've booked a rental cabin in Big Bear, but are wondering what to do. If you're an outdoors person, then hiking may be a great activity to do. Big Bear has plenty of trails to offer!
We will show you which are the most popular and best in Big Bear. Even if you are not an expert, there are trails for all levels of hikers, and best of all, if you like to travel with your pet, you can safely travel with them on all routes!
Alpine Pedal- Very Easy
Length- 2.5 miles
The Alpine Pedal path meanders along the north shore of Big Bear Lake with spectacular views of the ski resorts on the south shore. See beautiful alpine meadows, juniper and pine forests with wildflowers, and the Serrano Camp. Have the kids watch the squirrels along the way.
This hiking trail is easily accessible for hikers, cyclists, runners, strollers, and wheelchairs.
Woodland Interpretive Trail- Very Easy
Length- 1.5 miles
A unique nature trail with 16 posted stops. You can pick up a brochure at the beginning of the trail to find out everything this trail has to offer you and take a self-guided tour to learn about the botany, geology, and wildlife of this wooded area.
There are some rocky areas with incredible Lake views I'm sure you'll capture the perfect photos. This hiking trail in Big Bear is a popular dog-walking trail and is great for kids.
Note: To park at the trailhead you require an Adventure Pass which you can buy at all convenience stores or 7-Eleven for as little as $7.
Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail- Easy
A pleasant 30–45 minute walk through lush forest to Bluff Meadows and one of the largest Lodgepole pines in the world. Walk along a seasonal stream and see colorful wildflowers popping up along the trail in the spring and summer months. Bright green ferns cover the forest floor as you approach Bluff Meadows and the open spaces are filled with corn lilies and damselflies.
This hiking and biking trail begins by driving on Mill Creek Road (Forest Road 2N10-dirt road) for 4.5 miles, then turning right onto 2N11 and continuing 1 mile to the trailhead.
Note: Vehicles with ground clearance are recommended.
Castle Rock Trail- Intermediate/Difficult
Length- 2.5 miles
Castle Rock Trail is the most popular trail in Big Bear. Densely forested with rock outcroppings and a seasonal waterfall, this is a beautiful hike any time of year. The seasonal creek in the spring and fall leaves in the fall make this a favorite hiking trail for locals and visitors alike. Castle Rock itself is a stunning granite outcrop with sweeping views of Big Bear Lake.
You may see rock climbers climbing the steeper side as you make your way up Castle Rock. This trail has a steep climb that will get your heart pounding for the first 1/2 mile and then level off as you work your way up Castle Rock.
The trailhead begins 1 mile east of Big Bear Dam on Hwy 18. On the south side of Hwy 18 is a small brown sign marking the trailhead.
Grandview Loop Bike Trail- Beginner/Intermediate
Length- 9 miles
A low-consequence, low-risk beginner's mountain bike ride that begins as you grab the Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair that will take you to the top of the mountain and then continue on the Skyline Trail to Grandview Point junction.
This mountain bike trail is one of the longest, at 7.5 miles. There will be a fork in the trail where you have the option to travel 2.5 miles to Grandview Point and admire the amazing views of San Gorgonio or continue on the trail.
John Bull Loop Bike Trail- Advanced/Expert
Length- 14.9 miles
To complete this loop you will need stamina and basic navigation skills. Start at Van Dusen Canyon Rd. (3N09) and go up 3.5 miles to Holcomb Valley to 3N16, turn left, to 3N07, turn right, to 3N43, turn left onto "The John Bull Trail" (3N10) . It's about 3 miles of technical driving before reaching 3N32; Turn right onto 3N16 and turn right again at 3N09, which will take you back to your starting point.
Tips for hiking
Fully charge your cell phone before you go hiking or biking, especially if you are going alone. Let someone know what trail you are going on and when you expect to return.
Wear suitable footwear. Blisters and sore feet are no fun while walking.
Bring lots of water. There is no drinking water provided on the trails.
UV rays are strongest at this elevation. Take a hat or cap and plenty of sunscreen.
Pick it up / Pack it up. Keep our forests clean. (Do not throw your garbage on the trail). We must preserve our beautiful forests.
Bring a first aid kit with bandages, first aid tape/duct tape, Benadryl, and first aid ointment.
It is also good to have in your backpack, a whistle, matches, a flashlight, and some high-energy snacks to keep you energized.
Always let someone you trust know where you are going and when you expect to return. Find out when the sun goes down and give yourself plenty of time to get back before it gets dark.
Now get ready to enter these beautiful forests and trails. Have you decided which one best suits you? I am sure that you will be fascinated with the smell of fresh pine, the colors of the leaves, and being able to admire the beautiful view of the lake from the top of the mountain.