Big Bear Lake, California, lies in a valley, unsurpassed in mountain beauty, towering
pines, sparkling streams, hidden lakes and abundant wildlife. Surrounded by the
San Bernardino National Forest, Big Bear Lake is a year-round playground for winter
and summer sports enthusiasts, as well as a refuge for city dwellers to relax and
enjoy the beauty of the majestic pine trees that cover the landscape, the abundant
wildlife, the wildflowers in the spring, and the snow in the winter.
Big Bear Lake is located in San Bernardino Mountains and is an easy drive from most
areas in southern California. It is about 93 miles northeast of Los Angeles, an
approximate 2 hour, 10 drive depending on traffic and road conditions. From Beverly
Hills it is approximately a 2 hour, 20 min. drive and from the City of San Bernardino
(29 miles) - depending on traffic it is a 40 to 45 minute drive. There are three
roads that lead in and out of the Big Bear Valley. From the I10 you can choose between
the Hwy330 which turns into Hwy18 (called the front way) through Running Springs,
or the Hwy38 through Mentone. From the 210 Freeway you can also choose the Hwy330
which takes you directly up the mountain or you can proceed towards Redlands and
take Hwy38 if you prefer that route. Hwy38 usually has less traffic, but Hwy330
is quicker. Some people prefer to take the back road which is Hwy18 through Hesperia
and Lucerne. All the roads leading to Big Bear offer some pretty spectacular vistas,
especially Hwy330/Hwy18 - there are numerous turn-outs where you
When travelling to the mountains in the Winter months, its a good idea to keep a
flashlight, water and a blanket in the car - just in case there is a traffic delay
due to a storm.
The Big Bear Lake area ranges in altitude from 6,750 feet to 9,000 feet above sea
level and has an alpine tundra climate. Unlike the flatlands below, this unique
area has four distinct seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall and
To the millions of tourists who visit this forested paradise every year, Big Bear
Lake offers world-class snowboarding, skiing, sledding, hiking, nature walks, mountain
biking, boating, fishing, kayaking, sailing, water-skiing, wakeboarding, parasailing,
golfing, shopping and entertainment for the whole family.
There are numerous Ski and Snowboard Shops that offer ski and snowboard rentals.
They also sell skis, snowboards, boots and the latest styles in snowboard clothing,
hats, and accessories.
Shopping in Big Bear Lake is surprisingly good, there are several small markets
as well as Vons Supermarket and Stater Bros Supermarket. The town has a large K-Mart
/ Sears store and several pharmacies, namely: Walgreens, CVS and Medical Arts Pharmacy.
The Big Bear Lake Village is a must see, there are great places to eat, from fine
The Village has a Movie Theater, with four
screens. On the corner of Pine Knot and Village Drive you can take the family on one of the Horse and Carriage rides around the Village.
Also located in the Village are four night spots - AV Nightclub, Murrays, Club Bombay,
Nottinhams and the historic Chads.
Every year the Village is the setting for the Classic Car Show, which attracts crowds
of onlookers and participants from all over.
On November 28 the Village holds a celebration to welcome Santa's grand entrance
and the Christman Tree lighting; located on the corner of Village Drive and Pine
Big Bear Lake receives millions of visitors and there are many first-class Lodges,
Hotels and B&B's to accommodate them. For guests that prefer private homes and for
large family groups there are an assortment of Vacation Rentals that range from
the small one-bedroom Rental Cabins to the large Luxury homes.(Check the Hotel/Lodge
Section and the Vacation Rentals Section in this website).
Other tourist attractions are the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain which has a water
slide in the summer and an inner tube slide in the winter. There is another inner
tube slide in
The Bear Mountain Golf Course is open during the summer months. It is a 9-hole course
and is located opposite the Bear Mountain Resort in Moonridge.
The Miss Liberty Paddle Wheel Boat offers tours of the lake all year round. It is
enclosed with glass windows so you can stay warm in cold months. The Big Bear Pirate
Ship operates fun lake tours during the summer months, the boat is the Pirate boat
used in the movie "The Time Bandit".
The Big Bear Lake Performing Arts Center has a variety of live stage shows and theater
productions throughout the year.
Camping is very popular during the summer months.
The Campgrounds in the area are the Serrano Campground, Pine Knot Campground, Hanna
Flat Campground, Holcomb Valley Campground and Pine Flat Campground. There are also
several Yellow Post sites (refer to our Camping Section in the Activities).
is one of the most popular activities in the Big Bear Valley - check out the Hiking
Section in Activities menu in this website.
The lake in Big Bear Lake is eight miles
long and approximately one mile across at its widest point. It has about 23 miles
of shoreline and is located at an elevation of 6,743.20 feet. The present dam, built
in 1912, replaced the original dam, which was built in 1884. The new dam impounds
more than 73,000 acre-feet of water with a height of 72'4".
The Lake is not a source
of water for the local water supply. The only water taken locally is by the two
ski resorts for making artificial snow. They may each purchase up to 500-acre ft.
per ski season. The Municipal Water District manages the lake. Private homes, several
marinas, public parks and some hotels and lodges surround the south side of the
Located near the Dam on Government lease land is a historic area dotted with
picturesque older cabins, built among the boulders and tall pines.
In the same area
you will see Treasure Island, sometimes called China Island,( the correct name is
Garstin Island). Treasure Island is privately owned and the home is built on top
of the giant boulders is a series of wonderful Oriental style buildings that were
built in 1911 by Maude Garstin.
The nearby boulders are a favorite with tourists
and local youngsters for jumping and diving. The Lake is a favorite with boating
enthusiasts, and during the summer season, tourists and locals take advantage of
the picturesque surroundings to enjoy fishing, wakeboarding, water skiing, jet skiing,
parasailing, sailing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming. In the winter months, the
Lake sometimes freezes over, and although it is beautiful to look at, it is dangerous
and the public is prohibited from playing on the ice.
The newer Boulder Bay Park on the west end of the lake has become a popular area for visitors to play by the water, fish, kayak, canoe and picnic.
The Big Bear Valley consists
of Big Bear Lake (south shore of the lake), Fawnskin (north shore of the lake),
Big Bear City (east of the lake), Sugarloaf, Erwin Lake, Baldwin Lake and Lake William.
For more information, refer to the Maps Section in this website - Bigbearlake.net.