Big Bear Lake is a ski town nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains. With a few ski resorts in close proximity, you can make a weekend -- or even a day -- of new terrain. Winter welcomes the skis, boards and tubes. But there are ample year-round opportunities to live the great outdoor life.
When the snow melt runs creeks through the lush summertime greenery, get on the hiking shoes and feel the land in a fresh way. This is prime territory for viewing wildlife, hiking easy trails, cranking on mountain bikes, and just enjoying what's fresh and free of the city hustle and hassle.
The laid-back ski town of Big Bear Lake is 470 miles from San Francisco, and is heaven on the mountain in the San Bernardino National Forest.
This is a long drive, so bring a friend and load up the tunes. Merge onto I-80 E toward Oakland and keep left toward Berkley/Sacramento/I-580 W/San Rafael. Merge onto I-580 E via exit 8B toward CA-24/Hayward-Stockton. Follow this road for about 63 miles until I-580 E becomes I-5 S. This is the longest portion of your road trip and it’s a straight shot down the 5 for almost 290 miles. Look out for the fork and keep left to stay on I-5 S, then take exit 161A for I-210 toward Pasadena.
You’ll continue on I-210 E for 24 miles, then keep right at the fork, following signs for I-210/San Bernardino/Ventura/CA-134. Keep left, continuing to focus on that signage for I-210 E/Fwy San Bernardino.Merge onto I-210 E and continue as it turns into CA-210. 36.7 miles later, you’ll reach exit 81 for CA-330 N toward Mountain Resorts. Follow CA-330 N/City Creek Rd on to Running Springs, where you'll catch CA-18, a.k.a. the home stretch.
Overlooking scenic Big Bear Lake, Marina Resort features an outdoor pool, a complimentary shuttle to and from Snow Summit, and a hot tub. You also can get your hookup with the on-site ski fitting and rentals. The Village, home to several restaurants and shops, is only a 5-minutes walk from Marina Resort.
Honey Bear Lodge & Cabins is all about proximity and convenience. When you want that home style away from home, Honey Bear has rooms with a small kitchen and ready-to-burn fireplace to give you that cozy, self-sufficient feeling. Free toiletries are available and a microwave, small fridge, and coffee and tea-making facilities are provided. Big Bear Lake and mountain adventures are only a few minutes away.
Timber Haven Lodge is in a quiet alpine setting and includes kitchen space, a living room, patio hangout spot and access to an outdoor hot tub, ping-pong fun, massage services, and free Wi-Fi access. Big Bear Marina is only a mile away when warm weather calls you to the water, and the ski resorts are close enough to Timber Haven Lodge to make it easy to catch first lift when the powder is on.
Himalayan Restaurant is everything you'd expect of the flavors and ultra-friendly service. The chicken tikka masala is adored for its creamy authenticity and the naan (bread) will conjure dreams of Mt. Everest Base Camp. The Himalayan is a gift from one mountain region to another. Put this on your must-go list when in Big Bear Lake.
Murray's Saloon & Eatery is the spot for gettin' down with casual, good American pub grub. Some might call it a dive with its no-frills salute to good times. It's the food and drinks and fun that drive this place. Loved by locals and ski bums who tramp through season after season, hit-up the saloon when the day's adventure has been put on pause.
The 572 Social Kitchen and Lounge is right in the middle of the mix in Big Bear Lake, you won't be able to miss it. It collects raves and hollers for food, casual atmosphere, cocktails and as a live-music joint. What else could you need? Ahi tacos, onion rings, spicy edamame, killer burgers? Nailed it.
Castle Rock Trail at Big Bear Lake is a fantastic hike that winds its up to some killer views. It's only about a mile long and can get icy in winter, of course, but at the top you can scramble some rocks and get some of the best views in the area. Heads up for wildlife!
The namesake of the town, Big Bear Lake is the place to be when the weather warms and the boats start getting antsy to cut a wake. What can't you do at the lake? It's surrounded by gorgeous scenery, hiking and biking trails, boating, swimming, fishing, paddle boarding ... and everything else you can think of is the action to jump on here.
Snow Summit is a hot spot for outdoor action year-round. Ski, snowboard and snow tubing season is a given, but when the temps rise, break out the mountain bikes, go climb a rock wall, hike and zipline. And bring a camera. The views are spectacular no matter the season.
Pine Knot Village is the heart of Big Bear Lake. It's the spot to walk and talk, window shop and grab a drink or two. The variety of restaurants is pretty solid for a small town, and they know what you're after with great menus, cocktails, service and entertainment.
The Alpine Pedal Path around Big Bear Lake is the easy stroll you might want after a big dinner or to take in a fresh morning. Running, biking, inline skating. It all works. Tackle the whole thing and you'll net yourself about five miles of action and irreplaceable views.