Rim of the World Scenic Byway

California is most known for sand and surf, but just a short drive from the ocean, an entirely different landscape emerges. The mountains, lakes, and scenery of the Inland Empire make up the beautiful Big Bear area. Head east from San Diego, Orange County, or Los Angeles and take a California road trip along the 110-mile-long Rim of the World Scenic Byway, nicknamed for its stunning views along the cliffs of the San Bernardino Mountains.

Embark on the Best Road Trip in California at the Rim of the World

The Inland Empire byway begins at Cajon Pass, on State Highway 138 between the San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains. Visitors to this area can take the Rim of the World drive year-round due to the California weather, but you will get plenty of chance to enjoy the snow. Make the most of photo-op-ready turnouts, like Silverwood Lake Overlook off State Highway 138, which offers a view of the sparkling lake.

Detour at Lake Arrowhead

On the Rim of the World drive, visitors can take a detour on State Route 173 to relax at this deep-blue mountain lake and the quaint town that neighbors it. While you’re here, hike a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail, about seven miles from the lake, or take a steamboat ride on the Arrowhead Queen to ogle lakefront homes and learn about the movies filmed here over the years.

Get Out of the Car and Play at Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake lies just off the end of the Rim of the World Scenic Byway. Visitors can embrace the alpine scenery on the western side of the Rim by staying in a modern version of a mountain cabin. The cottages of Noon Lodge, which first opened in the 1950s, have been renovated with cedar detailing, kitchens, fireplaces, and cheeky-cabin décor.

Hike Castle Rock Trail

If you want to get out and stretch your legs after a long ride, make sure to visit Castle Rock Trail. The forest-lined walk takes you past huge granite boulders as you ascend through ponderosa pines, white firs, and incense cedars to get a panoramic view of Big Bear Lake. Come in spring or summer to see a waterfall, and keep an eye out for herons, hawks, and even bald eagles.

If you are going to Big Bear on your next vacation, the Rim of the World Scenic Byway is a must visit.

(Image by Don Graham via Flickr, https://www.flickr.com/photos/23155134@N06/8377787998)