How often will you be able to say that in your lifetime you saw the largest tree in its family? We pass trees every day and take them for granted. While you’re vacationing with us, don’t take the Champion Lodgepole Pine for granted.
Champion refers to a tree that is larger than any other living member of its species. Foresters haven’t verified whether this lodgepole pine is truly a champion, but you still shouldn’t miss its majestic enormity. At 110 feet tall, 6 feet wide, and more than 440 years old, this tree is truly breathtaking.
That this tree is living is another feat worth celebrating with a visit. The area has been extensively logged and burned out by wildfires, so this tree is an anomaly not just for its size, but for its survival.
There are several trails near the tree, but the easiest way to access it is by the one-mile round trip Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail. Roads are closed in winter due to snow, so it’s recommended you come in early summer. The wildflowers will be out, and the heat and risk of wildfire are still on the lower end.
Continue on to a trail to Bluff Lake Reserve, which supports several endangered plant species. The trail is on private land, but you can still respectfully enjoy the trail and views.
Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail is family friendly and included 14 interpretive signs along the trail.
From State Highway 18, which is about one mile west of Big Bear Lake Village, turn left on Mill Creek Road. Go past Aspen Glen Picnic Area by 0.4 mile and turn left to continue onto Mill Creek Road to Forest Road 2N10. Continue on 2N10 for 3.7 miles and turn right on Forest Service Road 2N11. Continue one mile to the trailhead.
Always check the Forest Service website for warnings about road conditions and wildfires. There is frequently high water across Forest Road 2N11.
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