Lakeview towards the top of the Cougar Crest Trail

This is quite a long hike, so bring water and a snack. In the first mile there is only a gentle uphill increase, however in mile two, the trail gets steeper and rocky in places. The trail, situated on the south side of the mountain is a lot drier than the lush Siberia Creek Trail, however the panoramic views of the lake and surrounding mountains make it well worth the hike. Throughout the trail there are wonderful examples of the picturesque Western Juniper; this gnarled, burly tree grows in extreme conditions and has red, hairy bark. You will notice the spiral grain, a phenomenon found in the growth of most western conifers, but is much more pronounced in trees growing under harsh climatic conditions. The rich bluish berry-like fruits can be seen on the tops of the trees. They mature in fall and are an excellent food supply for mountain birds.

The Cougar Crest Trail ends at the junction of the famous Pacific Crest Trail, which connects Canada to Mexico -(no mountain bikes). You may continue to the east (right) for .6 of a mile until you reach the summit of Bertha Peak (8,502 feet). From the summit there is a spectacular 360-degree view of Bear Valley, Holcomb Valley and the Mojave Desert. Return the same way. The images in the galleries are taken in sequence as you progress along the trail. (You can park for free until 6:00pm in the summer at the Discovery Center and walk to the trailhead - if you park in the Trail parking lot you will need to buy an Adventure Pass).

  • LENGTH: From the parking area - 4 Miles(Round Trip)
  • ELEVATION GAIN: -Unknown
  • CLASSIFICATION: Moderate to difficult
  • WHAT YOU NEED: An Adventure Pass if you park your car in the parking lot -these can be purchased at the Discovery Center, Ranger Station and various other stores in Big Bear Lake.
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD WEAR: Comfortable hiking shoes and clothing - a hat - sunglasses. -
  • WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING: Water - snacks - camera - windbreaker.
  • Located on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake, just .6 of a mile west of the Discovery Center on HWY38.