Nestled high in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear is well known as a haven for skiers and snowboarders. But as the weather warms, these high hills and mountain peaks welcome another group of outdoor enthusiasts: cyclists. While the adrenaline-pumping trail rides, switchback loops, and steep mountain descents of the backcountry immediately spring to mind (and rightfully so), there is a growing road biking community in Big Bear thanks to many incredible road routes, summit climbs, and scenic loops.
Put the Pedal to the Path
If you are new to Big Bear or to cycling, or if you simply want to take the entire family for a scenic bike tour, the Alpine Pedal Path is the perfect beginner’s route. Beginning at Stanfield Cutoff on the east side of Big Bear Lake, this 3.5-mile paved trail follows the lake’s shoreline and offers easy pedaling with no cars and spectacular views of the lake and the overlying mountains. For those with more endurance, the road route around the entire lake clocks in at about an hour (15 miles on regular roads) at a casual pace.
Of course, that doesn’t take into account the urge to stop at the numerous scenic lookouts and panoramic vistas to drink in the scenery and indulge yourself with a photo or selfie. The truly grandiose cyclists can make it a 2-for-1 by tacking on the trek to nearby Baldwin Lake, a 40-mile loop that brings you back to Big Bear City when all is said and done. Along the way you will wind through the beautiful forests and enjoy the lakeside scenery of not one but two idyllic mountain lakes.
Big Bear made a name for itself in the biking world thanks to its intense downhill alpine trails and breathtaking scenery, regarded as some of the best terrain in the world. With more than 100 miles of well-maintained single track trails and Forest Service roads, the backcountry here is perfect for exploring on solo adventures or with like-minded adventure junkies. The trails offer a beautiful mix of cross country stretches through stunning mountain forests as well as challenging uphill climbs and pulse-pounding switchback descents.
Some of the most popular trails are the Skyline Ridge with its incredible views of San Gorgonio Mountain and Big Bear Lake, the Pine Knot Trail with its breathtaking cannonball runs through the forests, and the Skyline Trail, a newly constructed route along the spine of the mountains featuring single track thrills as it serpentines toward the valley below.
A Ride with a View
If you want the rush of downhill skiing on your bike, head to the Snow Summit Bike Park. Riders enjoy an awe-inspiring ride on the Snow Summit Scenic Sky Chair before tackling the downhill network of banks, bridges, and barriers on some of the most thrilling runs in the country. With trails for beginners and intermediate riders, the Park has something for everyone, regardless of skill level.
With so many incredible trails and road routes, it is impossible to list them all here. So whether you prefer the challenge of some of the most difficult street climbs in the world (check out “Breathless Agony,” a 9-mile ascent to the 8,443′ summit of Onyx Peak), the thrill of downhill mountain biking, or a relaxing loop around the lake, rest assured there is a ride here for you. Big Bear has some of the best cycling in the country, and it’s all waiting for you just outside the door of your Big Bear cabin rental.