Big Bear Lake

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.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 47 47 52 59 68 76 81 80 74 64 54 48
Nightly lows (°F) 21 22 25 29 36 42 48 47 42 33 26 21
Precipitation (in) 4.1 4.1 2.6 0.9 0.4 0.2 0.6 1.1 0.5 0.9 1.8 3.1

   Data from NOAA (1981-2010)

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 - Least amount of traffic, longest way (if you are coming from I-15 Northbound from Cajon Pass) and least amenities en route (just north of Big Bear at the Hwy 247 Junction, Lucerne Valley limited to gas and grocery only).

While travel time to Big Bear is quick, approaching Big Bear from the Inland Empire valley floor (near Sea Level to 1,000 ft. elevation) to Big Bear Lake/City (approx. 5,800-6,000 feet) requires a vehicle in good repair (rentals are fine) and favorable road conditions. Approach during considerable inclement weather (winter storms, heavy rainfall/landslide risk) is not advised.

By air

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

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

By foot

The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a well known trail that extends along the West coast of the United States, from Mexico to Canada. It passes through California, Oregon, and Washington State.

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.




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.




Stay safe

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

Go next

Routes through Big Bear Lake

Victorville Apple Valley  N  S  Lake Arrowhead San Bernardino

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, January 08, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.