73°F
weather icon Clear

Big Bear Lake offers myriad sights, activities

Big Bear Lake, California, is an easy drive from Boulder City, less than four hours away in the San Bernardino Mountains. This resort town is at an elevation of 7,000 feet, making it a fine place to escape the blistering summers of the surrounding deserts. Summer average daily high temperatures are in the high 70s, with nights dipping down into the 40s.

Trail options range from a family-friendly nature hike to a hardcore hike along a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail. This trail travels a 2,650-mile path from Mexico to Canada through California, Oregon and Washington.

Whatever off-the-pavement adventure you choose, a smart place to start it is the Big Bear Discovery Center in Fawnskin on the north side of the lake at 40971 North Shore Drive. The center has nature exhibits, area maps, camping information and permit information and also offers naturalist-led eco-tours and other interpretive programs. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Monday. Call 909-382-2790 or visit http://www.mountainsfoundation.org for more information.

While the surrounding forestland is a haven for mountain off-road adventures, hiking and mountain biking, the lake itself really takes center stage. Big Bear Lake is about 8 miles long and 1 mile wide, and boasts 23 miles of shoreline. It is a world-renowned lake for fishing and anglers can enjoy catching smallmouth or largemouth bass, bluegill, catfish and rainbow trout.

The lake is also a prime destination for kayakers, paddleboarders, water skiers, jet skiers, wakeboarders and parasailers. The local marinas offer rentals, lessons and tours for these activities for visitors young and old.

Even if you don’t want to take part in watersports, it’s well worth a trip out on the lake aboard Miss Liberty, a 64-foot paddlewheel tour boat. A narrated 90-minute cruise around the lake features Big Bear Lake’s history as well as highlights you’ll find around the lake. The boat offers a galley to purchase refreshments and light snacks. There are also shaded decks and an indoor heated salon for those cool mountain days.

Whether you took it easy all day sightseeing or hit the trails or lake hard, you can wind down every evening in The Village. The Village is home to shops, bars and a variety of restaurants to suit anyone’s preference. You’ll find everything from homestyle and seafood to vegetarian and gourmet food.

Standard lake attire is comfortable casual clothes with a fleece jacket, windbreaker and hat for the cool evenings and mornings. Bring clothing, footwear and basic gear appropriate for the outdoor activity you will be doing such as a backpack, hiking shoes, bathing suit, towel or bike gloves and shoes.

The Big Bear Visitor Center is the place to plan your visit, whether before you leave home or once you arrive. The center keeps track of information on not only on lodging, food and tours, but also on special events and activities. Contact the Big Bear Visitors Center, 630 Bartlett Road, Big Bear Lake, at http://www.bigbear.com or 800-424-4232.

With so much to do, you will want to plan to stay two nights or longer at area lodging or camping.

Many of Deborah Wall’s columns have been compiled into books about hiking in the Southwest. She is also the author of “Great Hikes, a Cerca Country Guide” and a co-author of the book “Access For All, Seeing the Southwest With Limited Mobility.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Boys look for repeat title win

Dominant throughout the postseason, Boulder City High School’s boys varsity volleyball team earned a spot in the 3A state championship game for the second consecutive season, after routing Chaparral and Coral Academy during its most recent slate of games.

Lady Eagles head to state tourney

Boulder City High School’s softball team is looking for its first state championship since 2010.

Roundup: Girls swim team wins regional title

Boulder City High School’s girls swimming team finished in first place at regionals, while the boys finished second.

Girls ride win streak heading into regionals

Controlling their own destiny this postseason, Boulder City High School’s softball team has entered the winners bracket after defeating Desert Pines on Monday, May 9, and rival Moapa Valley on Tuesday, May 10, in the opening rounds of the postseason.

Catalina evokes visions of romance, nature

For many who grew up in the 1950s or ’60s, the name of Santa Catalina will always evoke the vision of California at its most romantic, thanks to the Four Preps’ influential pop song of the same name. But the actual island has helped city folk enjoy romance, nature and elegant surroundings in their preferred proportions for nearly a century.

Eagles’ future tentative

Splitting a pair of postseason games, Boulder City High School’s baseball team finds itself in the losers bracket, hoping to pull through.

Roundup: BCHS hosts final track meet of year

Hosting an end of the season meet Friday, May 6, Boulder City High School’s boys and girls track and field teams finished near the top half of the pack.

Wrestler recognized for character, leadership

Hunter Moore, a junior wrestling star at Boulder City High School, was recognized by the United States Marine Corps and National Wrestling Coaches Association with a Character and Leadership All-America Award.

Eagles defeat rival

Facing their toughest competition of the season, the Boulder City High School boys volleyball team defeated Clark 3-1 Friday, April 29, locking up the top seed in the 3A standings.

Team locks up first place in 3A division

In dominant fashion, the Boulder City High School baseball team extended their winning streak to seven games and locked up first place in the 3A Desert League.