Alpine 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 trail-head 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 geologyof 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 Lodge-pole Pine Trail-head, 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 trail-head. Then it’s a gentle walk down a path along a small steam for .3 miles. The trail ends at the Champion Lodge-pole Pine, one of the largest known Lodge-pole pines in California. Adjacent to the Champion Lodge-pole Pine is a beautiful meadow, a tapestry of wildflowers in the spring. An interpretive brochure for the 15 markers is available at the trail-head and at the Discovery Center. So please stay on the trails.
A companion path is the Bluff Mesa Trail which begins where the Champion Lodge-pole 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 trail-head.
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.
Pine-knot 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 trail-head 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, n200 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 trail-head.
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.
NEARBY TRAILS IN ORDER OF INCREASING DIFFICULTY
Camp Creek National Recreation Trail 1W09 Very Steep and Difficult 7.2 miles Round Trip
This trail begins .4 miles east of the Main Gate of the Snow Valley Ski Resort at the 2N97 Forest Road turnout. Signage at the trail-head will direct you to the Camp Creek Trail which 2N97 intersects in .3 miles. It is a very steep trail with an elevation change of 2,000 feet. It terminates at Bear Creek.
Sugarloaf National Recreation Trail 2E18 Difficult 10 miles Round Trip
From the south end of Stanfield Cutoff on Big Bear Boulevard (Highway 38), continue for 6 miles heading south toward Redlands. Turn right on 2N93 at the intersection of Highway 38 and Hatchery Road. Follow this dirt road until you reach the Sugarloaf Trail sign and park in the turnout. The first 2 miles is a dirt road, which at times follows Green Creek. Although the view from the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain is mostly obscured by trees, you have climbed to an altitude of 9,952 feet, the highest point in the Big Bear Valley.
Glory Ridge Trail 1W02 Very Difficult and Not Recommended 2 miles Round Trip
The turnout to the trail-head is 2 miles west of the Big Bear Lake dam on Highway 18, just after the Highway reduces from two lanes to one. Drive down rutted Forest Road 2N15. Turn right at the fork onto a dirt road. Drive slowly and park on a knoll at the road’s end. Follow the trail .25 miles to the trail-head which marked by a “Fishermen” sign. Now the trail becomes very strenuous, dropping 1,100 feet in 1 mile! Climbing down is treacherous; climbing out is exhausting.
Siberia Creek Trail Easy to Extremely Difficult 7 miles Round Trip
Park at the same trailhead as the Championship Lodgepole Pine Trail: 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 .5 miles, passing the turn-off for the tree. You will traverse and then parallel trickling Siberia Creek for 1.5 miles until you reach the “Gunsight.” This rock formation is two huge boulders which were named because they resemble the massive rear gun sight of a rifle. If you are in excellent shape and choose to continue down to Siberia Creek, be aware that the trail has been obliterated by many rock slides. It is also very steep with an elevation change of 3,000 feet.
This trail is not maintained by the Forest Service.
San Gorgonio Wilderness Hike Moderate and Difficult Trails
Points of Interest: pine and fir forests, lush sub alpine meadows, sparkling streams, placid lakes, wildlife (particularly deer, bighorn sheep and black bears). Look for Dollar Lake, Dry Lake, San Gorgonio Peak, San Bernardino Peak, Fish Creek, and Aspen Grove.
Popular Wilderness trailheads are South Fork, Aspen Grove, Fish Creek, Forsee Creek, San Bernardino Peak, Momyer, and Vivian Creek. You can hike for a couple of hours or for a week. Be sure to get advice from Forest Service staff while planning your trip.
There are no easy trails in the Wilderness! In picking a trail, be sure you watch the elevation gains that will be made on the hike. The most popular route is from South Fork Trail, climbing 4,700 feet to the top of San Gorgonio. Round trip is 21.5 miles. It’s recommended as a 2-day (or longer) hike.
The steepest but shortest route to San Gorgonio is from the Vivian Creek Trail-head near Forest Falls: 15.6 miles round trip with a 5,300 feet elevation gain.
Permits: free Wilderness permit and Adventure Pass. Permits can be obtained in person at the Mill Creek Ranger Station, Barton Flats Visitor Center (summer only), and the Big Bear Discovery Center. You can request a permit application by mail or fax up to three months in advance. Permits are issued on a quota basis. When the daily quota for a trail-head has been filled, no additional permits will be issued for that area.
Trail-heads: Most of the trail-heads are in the Barton Flats area. Pick up a description of the trails at the Ranger Station.
Seasons: The best hiking time is June to October. The rest of the year, trails are snow covered and dangerous. Some trails on south-facing slopes may be snow-free longer. Always check at the Ranger Stations for trail conditions.
Call For Reservations:
Toll free 800-475-5216