View of Big Bear Lake before sunset

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 feet, 4 inches. The beautiful, new concrete arched bridge leading into Big Bear Lake opened on Friday, June 24 2011. At a cost of $39 million, the bridge is destined to be an award winning bridge and the most impressive structure in California.

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 lake.

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.