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Big Bear Lake

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Big Bear Lake

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Big Bear Lake is a city in San Bernardino County in Southern California.


Big Bear Lake is located in the middle of the San Bernardino National Forest. Parking within city limits does not require a permit. Parking in the forest areas surrounding the city requires the purchase of an Adventure Pass. Adventure Passes can be purchased at the Big Bear Discovery Center (see below) or any sporting goods store within the city.


Big Bear Lake, previously known as, Yuhaviat, was discovered back in 1845. Benjamin Davis Wilson and a crew of twenty men rode into Yuhaviat Valley chasing Native Americans that had been raiding their ranches in Riverside, CA. While in the valley, the men discovered that it was teeming with grizzly bear. Thus, Wilson came up with the name, Big Bear Lake, for the valley.

Before Big Bear Lake became a popular vacation spot, it was known as a gold mining mecca. In 1860, a bear tracker named, William Holcomb, discovered a creek filled with flakes of gold while tracking a bear’s blood trail. Word soon got around that there was gold in the valley. From 1860 to 1875, Big Bear Lake was swarming with prospectors in search of gold.


The average maximum annual temperature for Big Bear Lake is 62.2 degrees Fahrenheit and the average minimum annual temperature is 31.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The average annual snowfall is 62.1 inches. During the winter months, temperatures usually range from 20 to 54 degrees Fahrenheit. And during the summer, it is anywhere between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Get in

By car

HWY 330 Through Redlands - Easiest route from most Southern California locations.

HWY 38 Through Redlands - It is a bit longer, but is the most scenic.

HWY 18 Through Crestline/Running Springs - Shortest way if you are coming Hwy 210 Eastbound.

HWY 18 Through Apple Valley/Lucerne Valley - Less mountain driving and least amount of traffic.

By air

The nearest large airports are LA/Ontario International Airport and Palm Springs International Airport.

Big Bear City Airport [9] is a general aviation airport on the east end of the lake. Tiedown rentals are available. Car rentals are also available.

Get around

It is very easy to navigate Big Bear Lake by car. The city is very good about keeping the roads clean and free of snow in the winter. Big Bear Lake also has an incredible amount of hiking and biking trails available for public use. This can be a great way to explore the outdoors and also get where you need to go. The public is also free to use boats, jetskis, canoes, and other water apparatuses on the lake itself. The Mountain Area Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) is the primary public transportation provider for Big Bear Lake. It provides local and off-the-mountain bus services for its patrons.


  • Big Bear Discovery Center, 40971 North Shore Dr., +1 909 866-3437 (fax: +1 909 866-1781), [1]. Daily 8:30AM-4:30PM. The Discovery Center is museum and visitors center that provides information about the recreation opportunities in the forest surrounding the Lake. Adventure Passes are sold here.



Arcade In-door Fun, camping and RV parks, cross country skiing and snow shoeing, discovery center, hiking, horseback riding, laser tag indoor fun, off road tours, skiing and snowboarding, snow play, tours, trails, ziplining, and zoos.


Alpine slide, arcade in-door fun, biking, boating and water sports, camping and RV parks, discovery center, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, jet boat rentals, jet skiing, kayaking and canoeing, laser tag in-door fun, marinas, mountain biking, museums, off road tours, paddleboarding, parasailing, tennis, trails, wakeboarding and waterskiing, ziplining, and zoos.


Adventure Outpost at Bear City Discovery Center, 40971 Hwy. 38/ North Shore Dr. Fawnskin, California 92315. 909-866-3437. Located in the Big Bear Discovery Center, you will find maps, field guides, books on hiking, biking and camping, Native American items souvenirs and more.

Gallery of the American Landscape, 40722 Village Drive. Big Bear Lake, California 92315. (909) 878-9214. Visit the world’s first green gallery of master landscape photographer, Timothy Wolcott.

Blauer’s Board Shop, 41177 Big Bear Boulevard. Big Bear Lake, California 92315. (909) 866-5689. Top brand clothing, footwear, eyewear and wakeboards, inner tubes, bikes, and accessories for purchase or rent.

Goldsmith’s Boardhouse and Ski Rentals, 42071 Big Bear Boulevard. Big Bear Lake, California 92315. (909) 866-2728. Goldsmith's has outstanding lines of quality boards and skis for both sales and rentals. Snowshoe rentals and trail maps also available.

Bear Mountain Resort, 43101 Goldmine Dr. Big Bear Lake, California 92315. 909-866-5766. Whether just learning to ski or ride, refining skills or bringing professional style to the slopes, Bear Mountain has something for everyone. This nearly 200-acre winter playground offers the region's largest beginner area and the most progressive teaching terrain, equipment and techniques.

Sugarloaf Mountain Traders, 439 West Big Bear Blvd. Big Bear City, California 92314. 909-584-8451. Small boutique located in Bear City sells vintage and new linens, trims, fabric, beads and buttons.

Bear Valley Bikes, 40298 Big Bear Blvd. Big Bear Lake, CA 92315. 909-866-8000. Bear Valley Bikes is a full service bike shop, which means you can rent from us, or we can fix your bike, find the part you're looking for, or just pick up some last-minute gear or trail maps.

Snow Summit Mountain Resort, 880 Summit Blvd. Big Bear Lake, California 92315. 909-866-5766. Whether it's wide open runs or fun terrain features, Snow Summit has it all. Ideal for everyday skiers and riders in search of a friendly, laid back winter playground.

Yarn Designer’s Boutique, 439 West Big Bear Blvd. Big Bear City, California 92314. 909-584-9715. Beautiful yarns to knit and crochet, classes, books, free patterns with yarn purchase and accessories.

The Little Green House, 559 Bonanza Trail. Big Bear Lake, California 92315. 909-866-5352. We offer wedding and event coordinating. Specializing in custom bridal bouquets, custom ceremony and reception decorations, gourmet gift baskets and romantic in room set-up with roses and other romantic touches.


Gold Pan Restaurant, (909) 866-4310. Location: 39204 North Shore Dr (Fawnskin). Cuisine Type: American. Amenities: Takeout, Bar

Evergreen International,(909) 878-5588. Location: 40771 Big Bear Blvd. Cuisine Type: Steak/Seafood. Amenities: Takeout, Bar, Reservations Accepted, Banquets, Outdoor Seating, Pets Welcomed

Bill Knick's Cafe, (909) 866-1870. Location: 40971 North Shore Dr. Fawnskin (@ Discovery Center). Cuisine Type: American/Deli. Amenities: Outdoor Seating, Pets Allowed

Captain's Anchorage, (909) 866-3997. Location: 42148 Moonridge Way. Cuisine Type: Steak/Seafood. Amenities: Bar, Reservations Accepted

Big Bear Mountain Brewery, (909) 866-2337. Location: 40260 Big Bear Blvd. Cuisine Type: Continental/American. Amenities: Takeout, Bar, Entertainment, Outdoor Seating, Pets Welcomed

Grizzly Manor Café, (909) 866-6226. Location: 41268 Big Bear Blvd. Cuisine Type: American. Amenities: Takeout

Bistro at the Mansion, (909) 878-9190. Location: 869 Knickerbocker (@Knickerbocker Mansion in Village area). Cuisine Type: Continental/Seafood/Steak. Amenities: Open Fri & Sat only, Reservations Recommended, Catering, Banquets, Outdoor Seating

Noble Romans Pizza, (909) 866-7499. Location: 40679 Big Bear Blvd. (@ Big Bear Funplex). Cuisine Type: American. Amenities: Takeout, Bar, Entertainment, Banquets

Tiffany Lounge at Best Western, (909) 866-6666. Location: 42200 Moonridge Rd (@ Best Western Big Bear Chateau Plus). Cuisine Type: Continental. Amenities: Bar, Catering, Banquets, Outdoor Seating, Pets Welcomed

Diamond Lil's Saloon, (909) 585-2005. Location: 501 Valley Blvd (@ Big Bear City Airport). Cuisine Type: American. Amenities: Takeout, Bar

Maggios Pizza, (909) 866-8815. Location: 42160 Big Bear Blvd (in Vons Shopping Center). Cuisine Type: Italian. Amenities: Takeout

Sugar Pine Bake Shop, (909) 866-2300. Location: 40191 Big Bear Blvd. Cuisine Type: Bakery. Amenities: Takeout, Online Orders, Catering, Delivery

Himalayan Restaurant, (909) 866-2907. Location: 672 Pine Knot Ave #2 (Village Area). Cuisine Type: Nepalese/Indian. Amenities: Takeout, Bar, Delivery (within Village area)

Sweet Basil Bistro, (909) 866-9212. Location: 40629 Big Bear Blvd. (Village area). Cuisine Type: Fresh Italian. Amenities: Takeout, Bar, Catering

Bear Belly Deli, (909) 585-4266. Location: 42530 Moonridge Rd. Cuisine Type: Deli. Amenities: Takeout, Catering, Outdoor Seating, Pets Allowed

Nottinghams Restaurant, (909) 866-4644. Location: 40797 Lakeview Dr. (in Village Area). Cuisine Type: American/Steak/Seafood. Amenities: Bar, Entertainment, Outdoor Seating



  • Cienaga Creek Ranch, Rainbow Lane, (888) 336 - 2891, [2].
  • Best Western Big Bear Lake Chateau, 42200 Moonridge Road, +1 909 866-6666 (toll free: +1 800 232-7466, fax: +1 909 866-8988), [3].
  • Motel 6 Big Bear, 42899 Big Bear Boulevard, +1 909 585-6666 (fax: +1 909 585-6685), [4].
  • Pine Knot Guest Ranch, 908 Pine Knot Avenue P.O. Box 3446, 1-800-866-3446, [5].
  • Apples Bed and Breakfast, 42430 Moonridge Road P.O. Box 7172 Big Bear Lake, CA 92315, (909) 866-0903, [6].
  • Northwoods Resort and Conference Center, 40650 Village Dr (Located at the edge of the Village), 1-800-866-3121, [7].
  • Slopeside Chalet, 888-867-1902, [8]. Walk out your front door and you are at in the San Bernardino National Forest. This fantastic townhome sleeps 8, has NEW 47" HDTV with Surround sound system. 6 person jacuzzi, each bedroom has a TV 125.

Stay Safe

Wildfires sometimes occur during the summer, when it is dry.

Get out

  • Holcomb Valley, North of Big Bear Lake (from Hwy 38, take Poligue Canyon Rd. to Holcomb Valley Rd.). Holcomb Valley was a boomtown during the Southern California goldrush and was very nearly the county seat of San Bernardino County. A driving tour brochure can be found at the Big Bear Discovery Center. Note: This tour is on well-graded dirt roads that should accomodate most passenger cars. Be cautious when conditions are wet as the roads may become muddy.
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