As you watch the sunrise over the glittering waters of Big Bear Lake, the towering mountains wrapped around it like a protective blanket, it can be hard to believe that you are only 2 hours from one of the largest cities in the world. We think that is why so many people love it up here: You can quickly escape the everyday trials of city life and get lost in the natural beauty of these mountains and forests with ease. Of course, if you ask a local where the best place to witness all that scenic beauty is, you’re bound to get several different opinions. These are just a few of our favorites.
The Castle Rock Trail gets our vote for the most breathtaking views of Big Bear Like, though certainly not the easiest. This 1.3-mile trail quickly leaves the road behind and climbs through the San Bernardino Forest of oaks and pines over natural granite “stairs.” After the initial ascent, the trail levels out some as it winds through boulders and pine trees and hikers are rewarded with a glimpse of the iconic rock through the trees. Once you reach the craggy lookout high above the lake you can soak in the view, indulge yourself and your friends with selfies, and climb the boulders to the top of the rock itself. All in all, an excellent short hike – though the steepness of the initial section means it isn’t for everyone.
Several top scenic spots are accessible with the $5 Adventure Pass, available from the U.S. Forest Service. These include the 3.5-mile paved Alpine Pedal Path and the Pine Knot Trail. The former is an easy stroll around the lake and is lined with trees and wildflowers, perfect for old and young alike. The latter is a longer hike that offers more natural and wild views of the surrounding mountains and forests. In between is Boulder Bay Park which most locals will tell you is the best view of the town and the lake. Here you can get lost in the quiet splendor of nature, drinking in the scenic views of the lake, the rock formations, and the spectacular sunrises and sunsets. This park is free and features picnic areas and bathroom facilities. It is quite popular as a snowy playground for kids in the wintertime.
When you stay with us at Big Bear Vacations, you will find the enticing natural beauty of the area is never far away. So whether you stroll the boardwalk of Stanfield Marsh and Wildlife Preserve in springtime to drink in the wildflowers and watch the birds, or you prefer to revel in the winter wonderland of these high mountains from the scenic ridges along Cougar Crest Trail, we have the perfect accommodations waiting for you. Best part: the views are free!