Big Bear Lake is the premiere mountain playground in Southern California. In the winter it is hopefully covered with snow and people head to ski resorts Snow Summit and Big Bear Mountain. The rest of the year is a great time for not only lake-based activities but also hiking and mountain biking. This is our guide to some of the family friendly Big Bear Lake Hikes. It includes links to a detailed guide to each hike.
These trails are ranked in order from easiest to most difficult. However, all these hikes are very family friendly. In most cases, there is the opportunity to extend these hikes for a more strenuous workout. Big Bear Lake has an extensive network of roads and trails. The Pacific Crest Trail actually runs parallel to the north border of the lake.
Woodland Trail Interpretive Loop
This is a great introductory trail. There are 16 signposts that indicate various features of the Big Bear region. It is only 1.6 miles with about 200 feet in elevation gain. This is a great hike for people of all ages.
Starting Point: 41948 N Shore Dr, Big Bear, CA 92314
Length: 1.6 miles
Elevation: 230 ft gain and loss
Castle Rock Trail
Castle Rock Trail is a short but steep hike with great views. The big attraction of this hike is the large boulders. Both kids and adults love climbing on the many rocks at the top. Just beware of the rattlesnakes that like to hide in the rocks.
Starting Point: Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Length: 1.5 miles
Elevation: 500 ft gain and loss
Cougar Crest Trail
On the north end of Big Bear Lake, Cougar Crest Trail provides great views of the area. While Cougar Crest Trail has a significant uphill climb, it is done over a steady pace. This is a fairly moderate hike that can be done with older children.
Starting Point: North Shore Dr., Big Bear, CA 92314
Length: 5.5 miles
Elevation: 900 ft gain and loss
Pine Knot Trail to Grand View Point
The hike up Pine Knot Trail to Grand View Point probably provides the most epic views in the San Bernardino mountain range. Starting from Big Bear Lake, this climbs about 1,000 feet to Grand View Point which overlooks a valley and the highest mountains in Southern California. Roundtrip it is a little over 7 miles, but it is never really steep.
Starting Point: 40105 Mill Creek Rd, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
Length: 7.6 miles
Elevation: 1050 ft gain and loss
These are just a few of the many hiking opportunities in the Big Bear area. A great place for general information and resources is the Big Bear Discovery Center. Parking for many of the hikes requires an Adventure Pass which can be obtained at the Discovery Center or most gas stations and 7-11 stores in Big Bear. The Adventure Pass is $5 a day or $30 for an annual pass. Note most of the gas stations and 7-11 stores only sale the day pass.