The Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail is a must-see on your trip to Big Bear. The area is beautiful and more lush than all the other areas in the mountains around Big
Bear Lake. The best thing is that the trail is great for families with young children and grandparents. The trail is an easy 1/2 mile walk (you won't need special
hiking shoes, just comfortable ones) through the forest and along a little stream. The stream is seasonal and the water that flows here comes from rain and snow that
percolates in the soil above and then underground rock causes it to surface along this stream.
Lodgepole Pines are common in the Sierras where it is colder, but rare in Southern California. Lodgepole pines seldom grow taller than 70 feet and in Southern
California they usually grow above 8,000 feet. An exception to these rules occurs high on the mountaintop about 3 miles south of Big Bear Lake near Bluff Lake. Bluff
Lake is a shallow lake owned by the Wildlands Conservancy reserve that is surrounded by lush forest and green meadows. Here at an elevation of 7500 feet, grow the
largest Lodgepole pines in the world. This small pocket of Lodgepole Pines is thought to be a remant from a time when the climate was colder. The world "Champion"
(discovered in 1963) is a magnificent, double-topped tree that towers above the surrounding forest reaching a height of 110+ feet. The circumference of the trunk at
the bottom is 22 feet, however the bulbous base is 36 feet in circumference. It's age is estimated at 452 years, which means that it began to germinate in the year
The Forest Service has put up new signs and also left brochures at the parking area that explain the area around the numbered posts along the trail.
Follow the Champion Lodgepole trail about 1/2 mile through the forest along a trickling stream, you will then come to a fork in the trail where you will bear left
(you will see a wooden bench near the numbered post ) continue a short distance then you will see a sign for the Siberia Creek trail and the Champion Lodgepole; turn
right and walk a few yards through a lush area filled with Bracken Ferns, Wild Columbine, Lupine, Corn Lilies and other wildflowers. Cross over the tiny wooden bridge,
on your left will be a large green meadow and on your right, this magnificent tree surrounded by a small wooden fence and wildflowers. The old plaque was vandalized or
stolen years ago, and for 12 years the sign holder remained empty, however the forest service has now installed an attractive new sign with a
protective lucite cover, which unfortunately at the moment is broken. In this fragile area, please watch your step and avoid walking on any of the plants.This is one of the lushest areas in the mountains
around Big Bear Lake. Best months to see the wildflowers are June and July, and October is a great month to see the changing colors of the leaves.
You can return the way you came or take the opportunity to walk the beautiful Siberia Creek Trail which is another easy one-mile walk. You can walk the trail for
about a mile until you reach the Gunsight and then return the way you came./p>