10 Best Big Bear Hiking Trails

This is our pick of the best Big Bear hiking trails. These trails are the most popular in the region, so expect the crowds to grow as the day progresses. If you want a little more seclusion on these Big Bear hiking trails, I advise getting there early and finishing in a timely manner. 

In addition, we are always on the search for new dog friendly hiking trails so that we are allowed to bring along our four-legged friend. All of these Big Bear hiking trails are dog friendly, so bring along Fido and lets hit the footpaths.

This four seasons resort town offer much more than the best Big Bear hiking trails. From lake activities to local adventure tours, check out the 50 best things to do in Big Bear this weekend!

 

10 Best Big Bear Hiking Trails

10 Best Big Bear Hiking Trails for beginners are THE BEST! #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @nrmlboi

We are active outdoor enthusiasts and love to explore new trails wherever we travel. After spending a fair amount of time in the Big Bear Valley area, these are our favorites and definitely the best Big Bear hiking trails that we have found.

Get outdoors and enjoy the fresh mountain air. There are extraordinary panoramic viewpoints, seasonal streams, wildflowers and old growth forests to discover.

 

1. Pine Knot Trail

Pine Knot Trail for 6 Miles is Intermediate best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @emmathecattledog

6 Miles – Intermediate

Pine Knot trail features lake views, wildflowers and never-ending old growth pine trees. Bring your camera, because the beautiful forest scenery and the high elevation panoramic viewpoint is worthwhile. There are a number of switchbacks as you climb the 1400’ elevation gain to Grand View Point. The trail reaches the top at nearly 7,800’ and ends with spectacular views of Mt. San Gorgonio. On a clear day, you can even see Catalina Island off in the distance!

Experienced hikers can complete the 6 miles round-trip trail in about three hours or less. For families, I recommend packing a lunch and take your time making it a half-day adventure. The Pine Knot trail passes Deer Group Camp before crossing a road and reaching the final sign to Grand View Point.

For mountain bikers, make the ride a bit more thrilling by taking the Cabin 89 Trail.

 

Trailhead Parking

To get to Pine Knot Trail, take Highway 18 to the Aspen Glen Picnic Area off Mill Creek Road.

Note: Be sure to bring your Adventure Pass because this trailhead parking lot requires it!

 

2. Castle Rock Trail

Castle Rock Trail for 2.4 Miles is Intermediate best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

2.4 Miles – Intermediate

Castle Rock Trail is easily the most popular Big Bear hiking trails. The trail climbs up a relatively steep ascent through dense forest growth, large boulders and a seasonal waterfall in the springtime. In addition, the autumn leaves and scenic views make this trail kid friendly and fun for all ages.

Castle Rock Trail begins fairly steep, but levels out after the first half-mile. Catch your breath in the high elevation and take it easy along the trail.

Castle Rock is a massive granite formation that provides impressive panoramic views of the Big Bear Lake. You may even be lucky enough to see a rock climber scaling the steep face of Castle Rock.

 

Trailhead Parking

To get to Castle Rock Trail, drive 1-mile east of Big Bear Dam on Highway 18. You will see a small brown sign on the south side of the highway that marks the trailhead.

Pro Tip: Trailhead parking is allowed at the turnouts along the road.

 

3. Cougar Crest Trail

Cougar Crest Trail for 3.8 miles is Intermediate best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

3.8 miles – Intermediate

Cougar Crest Trail features a wide variety of natural alpine environments. You will venture past old growth pine trees, junipers, manzanitas and even cactus. The trail is on the north side of Big Bear Lake and the mountainside is unprotected from the intense heat and the direct high elevation sun exposure.

Keep an eye out for wildlife like bobcats, lizards, and birds. There are also regular rattlesnake sightings, so watch out!

The Cougar Crest Trail starts off as a gentle sloop and then slowly begins to climb in altitude. Beautiful lake views and benches await you at the top. Sit back and relish the days adventure.

The Cougar Crest Trail ends at the junction with the Pacific Crest Trail.

Hike to Bertha Peak for a little extra challenge. Continue another .75 mile and climb to the top of Bertha Peak for stunning views of Big Bear Valley and the high desert in the distance.

 

Trailhead Parking

Cougar Crest Trail begins off Highway 38, about half-mile west of the Big Bear Discovery Center. The main trailhead parking lot requires an Adventure Pass.

Pro Tip: Park for free at the Discovery Center and walk a short paved walkway over to the main trail.

 

4. Gray’s Peak Trail

Gray's Peak Trail for 6.5 miles is Intermediate best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @foodieaddict_adventures

6.5 miles – Intermediate

The Gray’s Peak Trail is also on the north side of Big Bear Lake. The direct sun exposure leads to more intense heat during a clear day.

The panoramic views from the Gray’s Peak Trail are noteworthy because you are looking lengthwise across Big Bear Lake. Enjoy the scenery and bring a camera!

The trail climbs gradually from the beginning and eventually reaches a forest road. From this point, prepare to ascend nearly a thousand feet in about 2 miles before reaching the summit of Gray’s Peak.

 

Trailhead Parking

Gray’s Peak Trail begins off of Highway 38, about .5 miles west of Fawnskin, Ca, and is directly across from Grout Bay Picnic Grounds.

Note: Be sure to bring your Adventure Pass because this trailhead parking lot requires it!

 

5. Snow Summit Log Chute Trail

Snow Summit Log Chute Trail for 3 Miles is Intermediate best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @gala_semenova

3 Miles – Intermediate

The Snow Summit Log Chute Trail is located at the Snow Summit Ski Resort. The loop trail sees a moderate amount of traffic due to it being located on the resort grounds. A large number of people take the chair lift up for the scenic view and then walk down or even mountain bike along the Skyline Trail.

There are also a large number of mountain bikers on these all-terrain Big Bear hiking trails. The Snow Summit Log Chute Trail is dog friendly and is a great workout when hiking from the bottom.

 

Trailhead Parking

The Snow Summit Log Chute Trail is located at the Snow Summit Ski Resort, which offers a large trailhead parking lot with well-maintained restrooms.

Take Highway 18 to Summit Blvd and head south. You will see the ski resort from the highway. There are plenty of signs guiding you towards trailhead parking and the trail is well marked.

 

6. Champion Lodgepole Bluff Mesa Trail

Champion Lodgepole Bluff Mesa Trail for 5.8 mile is Intermediate best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @cassiyykeola

5.8 mile – Intermediate

The Champion Lodgepole Bluff Mesa Trail is an extension along the popular Castle Rock Trail. The trail features old growth champion lodgepole pines, wild flowers, a large meadow and views of the bluff lake reserve.

The trail is steep until the Castle Rock and then begins to flatten out after you pass the large granite rock formations. There are plenty of photographic opportunities, especially at Bluff Lake, so be sure to bring along your camera.

 

Trailhead Parking

To get to Champion Lodgepole Bluff Mesa Trail, drive 1-mile east of Big Bear Dam on Highway 18. You will see a small brown sign on the south side of the highway that marks the trailhead.

Pro Tip: Trailhead parking is allowed at the turnouts along the road.

 

7. Alpine Pedal Path

Alpine Pedal Path for 2.5 Miles is Easy best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @auralflo23

2.5 Miles – Easy

The Alpine Pedal Path is a paved pathway that winds along the North Shore of Big Bear Lake. This easygoing outing is one of the best Big Bear hiking trails because it features incredible views of the Big Bear Ski Resorts across the lake. Take a walk along the path through alpine meadows, old growth forest, wildflowers and also the Serrano Campground.

Take the family along on this easy and kid friendly hiking trail through nature. The kids will encounter birds, lizards, squirrels and chipmunks along the way. Because it’s paved, you will also cross paths with a few bicycles. The Alpine Pedal Path is easily accessible for wheelchairs and strollers.

 

Trailhead Parking

The Alpine Pedal Path starts at the Stanfield Cutoff and ends at the Solar Observatory. It’s easy to park at the East Boat Ramp and pay a small fee.

Pro Tip: There is plenty of free parking along turnouts on North Shore Lane, so pull over and stretch your legs on this relaxing kid friendly hiking trail.

 

7. Woodland Interpretive Trail

Woodland Interpretive Trail for 1.5 Miles is Easy best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @theadventuresofscoutthedog

1.5 Miles – Easy

The Woodland Interpretive Trail is a self guided walking tour to learn about the plant life, wildlife and geology of the Big Bear Valley. There are 16 posted signs and stops along the trail. Check out this printable brochure for more information.

The Woodland Interpretive Trail is a kid friendly hiking trail that also features great lake views with rock formations and boulders for the children to climb on. This nature trail is popular for dog walking and family strolls.

 

Trailhead Parking

The Woodland Interpretive Trail is on Highway 38. The trailhead parking lot is about 1 mile east of the Discovery Center and just west of Stanfield Cutoff.

Note: Be sure to bring your Adventure Pass because this trailhead parking lot requires it!

 

8. Stanfield Marsh Boardwalk

Stanfield Marsh Boardwalk for .8 Miles is Easy big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

.8 Miles – Easy

The Stanfield Marsh Boardwalk is a really cute wooden boardwalk that starts at the scenic Meadow Park. The Stanfield Marsh Boardwalk is a kid friendly hiking trails with a view that spans across a gorgeous meadowland surrounded by a number of mountain peaks.

The wooden boardwalk is elevated on stilts and borders along the edge of the dry Baker Lake. Baker Lake has had water in the past, but not for many years now. This doesn’t detour families from taking a stroll along the scenic boardwalk.

 

Trailhead Parking

The Stanfield Marsh Boardwalk starts at the Meadow Park, on the corner of Stanfield Cutoff and Highway 18. There is a large parking lot with plenty of parking and a convenient restroom.

 

9. Bluff Lake Reserve

Bluff Lake Reserve for 1 Mile is Easy best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @movementbymelanie

1 Mile – Easy

Bluff Lake Reserve offers beautiful kid friendly hiking trails, picnicking and bird watching for the entire family. Take your dog for a walk along the meadow or stroll through lakeside trails and enjoy the ecological reserve.

There are plenty of photograph opportunities, especially when you get over toward to the Champion Lodgepole Pines. Most often times a ranger is located on site that can help you answer any questions about the preserve and the conservation efforts.

 

Trailhead Parking

Access the Bluff Lake Reserve off Big Bear Blvd on Mill Creek Road. Turn south on Forest Service Road 2N10 and follow the maintained dirt road for about 3 miles until you reach the reserve. There is plenty of parking and an adjacent restroom.

 

10. Towne Trail

 Towne Trail for 3 miles is Easy best big bear hiking trails. #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

source: @collectively.kate

3 miles – Easy

Town Trail runs between Snow Summit Ski Area and Big Bear Lake Village. Town Trail is a relatively flat with a few seasonal stream crossings. This popular Big Bear hiking trails is used in the winter for cross-country skiing, so therefore you can easily enjoy year-round activity. There is abundant shade due to the north-facing slope, in addition to the large cedars and fir trees that line the trail.

Towne Trail is also kid friendly and great for dog walking. Enjoy this easy stroll through nature located just outside of the Big Bear Village, and then stop by town to grab a well-deserved meal.

 

Trailhead Parking

Towne Trail begins east of Knickerbocker Road on Forest Road 2N08. From Highway 18, turn south on Knickerbocker Road and continue for 0.5 mile. Turn left on Forest Road 2N08 and park.

When the gate is closed, do not block the gate! If the gate is open, you can drive up Forest Road 2N08 to the trailhead parking area in the large turnout.

Note: Be sure to bring your Adventure Pass because this trailhead parking lot requires it!

 

Adventure Pass Information

Remember, an Adventure Pass is required when parking at any U.S. Forest Service trailheads. The Adventure Pass is conveniently available at the Big Bear Discovery Center or also at the Big Bear Visitors Center.

The America the Beautiful (National Park) Pass can also substitute, so if you have that instead, just leave it on your dashboard before you take off on any of these Big Bear hiking trails.

Rangers have lots of time to hand out parking tickets and frequently check the convenient trailhead parking areas, so spare yourself from a violation and pick up an Adventure Pass before you head out on the popular Big Bear hiking trails.

 

Hiking Tips For Beginners In Big Bear Lake

  • Charge your cell phone before hitting any hiking trail, especially if you’re alone. A majority of the Big Bear hiking trails are in the line-of-site of a cell tower, so therefore you most likely have cell service.
  • Wear proper footwear to prevent blisters and sore feet while on the trail.
  • Bring plenty of water so that you don’t dehydrate. The air is much drier at high elevation, so your body will naturally require more water when exercising.
  • UV rays are much stronger at high-elevation. Wear a hat, long sleeves and bring plenty of sunscreen
  • Leave No Trace! Remember that if you pack it in, then you must pack it out to keep our forests clean.
  • Carry a backpack with a backcountry first aid kit, plenty of water and a few high-energy snacks if you’re headed out for a long hike.
  • In case of emergencies, it’s also good to carry a flashlight, whistle, waterproof matches and duct tape.
  • Always share your hiking plans with someone you trust. Let them know when you will return, and leave yourself plenty of time to return home before dark.
  • Additional Hiking Tips For Beginners To Safely Enjoy the Outdoors
  • Additional Wildlife Safety Tips

 

What’s your favorite hiking trails in Big Bear?
Share your trails with us!
XOXO

fashion wanderer

These are THE BEST big bear hiking trails in Southern California. Love these castle rock trails and cougar crest trails. Perfect for dog, kid and beginner trails. Definitely pinning for weekend getaway bucket list! #hiking #hikingtrail #hikingguide #bigbear #bigbearlake #visitcalifornia #visitbigbear #thingstodo #weekendgetaway #roadtrip #traveldestination #bigbearvillage #cabin #mountain #travel

 

Soonjoo
Former fashion designer living a remote, location independent DIY lifestyle. Currently traveling full-time around the world.

24 thoughts on “10 Best Big Bear Hiking Trails

  1. Wow, this park looks gorgeous! And with so many different hikes, it seems like there’s something there for everyone. I would have a hard time deciding which to start with!

    1. Big Bear certainly does have hiking trails for all levels. I would recommend starting with Castle Rock trail, its very popular and people seem to really enjoy the hiking trail. It’s an amazing place to get outdoors and explore natures beauty.

  2. I love Big Bear and never knew that there were so many amazing hiking trails up there. Cant wait to hike there but going to wait till spring, brrrrrr 🙂

  3. I love hiking and I recently hiked on Mount Olympus for the first time which was fantastic! Your post makes me wanna plan my next hiking trip asap!

    1. We are always planning the next outdoors adventure. We really had fun exploring all of the best hiking trails in Big Bear. Now its time to plan the next travel destination for our bucket list.

  4. I love hiking and this Sunday, my friend and I are going to hike. Your pictures are gorgeous.

    1. Where are you going hiking? We will also be outdoors exploring the best hiking trails in Big Bear before the snowfall arrives 😉

    1. Big Bear is a gorgeous mountain town located 2 hours east of Los Angeles. If you love the outdoors and nature, then Big Bear has some of the best hiking trails to explore.

  5. Oh my goodness – these hiking trail spots are just breathtaking! And there are so many of them!!! I love going hiking with the family to places like this. And I love how you gave so much info about each place and especially the difficulty of the hike!

    1. We love exploring new hiking trails and want to share the journey with others. These are a few of our favorites and definitely the best hiking trails in Big Bear.

  6. Big Bear is high on my list of places to visit. It looks absolutely gorgeous and I love hiking. This is great for when I finally make it there.

  7. Hiking is one of my favorite activities! I’ve never been to Big Bear but it’s definitely on my wishlist now after seeing these amazing trails. What a gorgeous place!

    1. Big Bear is a fantastic place to visit if you love the four seasons adventure and the outdoors. Add Big Bear to your travel bucket list today 🙂

  8. These hiking trails are so beautiful! I know my Dalmatians Louis and Rosie would love all of these and they also look really instagrammable!

  9. we LOVE hiking! will have to check out all the amazing hiking trails in Big Bear, looks stunning!

    1. Ya we love hiking so much and Big Bear is a wonderful place to get outdoors! We always bring our adventure dog, so we try to find the most dog friendly trails to explore all together.

  10. All of these trails look absolutely incredible. I’ve not been hiking in years, and I really miss it. I really should make the effort to get outdoors and start doing it again 🙂

    Louise x

    1. We are obsessed with hiking and get outdoors a few times per week. Exploring new hiking trails helps to drag ourselves away from the computers. 😉

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