California is a destination of choice for a lot of travellers. I’ve had the good fortune to visit the state more than once. I’m familiar with its beaches, deserts, and coastal mountains; however, I’d never heard of Big Bear. It’s not all that far from Los Angeles and despite the variety of outdoor activities offered year-round, we seldom hear about it. I was there last Spring. It was too late in the season for skiing but it’s never too late to play outdoors!
Marc and I were a little heart broken to leave Santa Monica (one of our favourite areas in LA) behind us as we hit the road for Big Bear. Would we have fun in this more remote corner of California? The answer is a resounding YES. Big Bear is a terrific destination for outdoor enthusiasts. We spent many a happy hour hiking, mountain biking, and so on. It’s a great place to go when you want to get away from the city.
Where to hike?
Big Bear’s most well known hiking path is Castle Rock Trail. You needn’t worry however about bumping into a lot of people because this part of California isn’t overrun with tourists. The hike will take you about 1-½ hours all told. I recommend getting there in time to watch the sun as it sets over the boulders of Big Bear Mountain.
Where to mountain bike?
It all depends on what you’re comfortable with. We had very little time so we opted to follow the ski trails up to the mountaintop. The round trip took us about 2 hours. If you want something a little more challenging, I recommend going to the other side of the lake to discover the mountains facing Big Bear’s main town. If mountain biking isn’t your thing, simply cross the bridge at the village to make your way around the lake. You’ll get to enjoy scenic views of the mountains without having to pedal uphill!
How to get there?
We rented a car. Big Bear is a half-day drive from Los Angeles. The roadway that takes you across the mountains offers spectacular views that make the drive well worth it!
Where to sleep?
We rented a cottage at Cabins4Less. They’re no-frills rentals; however, they’re perfect for outdoor lovers like us. The prices are reasonable and you’ll be close to everything.
Where to eat?
It’s well worth taking a detour to the Grizzly Manor Café for a very generously sized breakfast in a very eclectic decor. Visitors will feel right at home in this tiny restaurant, off the main road, where everyone knows everyone!
The iconic Peppercorn Grille is unarguably the region’s best restaurant. The food is great and they’ve got an excellent menu of cocktail drinks!
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