Big Bear Lake is one of the most picturesque destinations in Southern California. Please enjoy your mountain lake escape responsibly and keep it beautiful and sustainable for everyone.

Big Bear has about 12,000 full-time residents throughout the valley. On average, 3,000,000 guests visit our destination each year, many for winter snow and skiing. Your vacation puts food on our tables and a roof over our heads. There’s virtually no business in Big Bear Lake that isn’t impacted by tourism spending. For that, we graciously thank you for considering a trip to our slice of paradise!

Recycle Your Sled Initiative

We see it all too often, broken plastic sleds and other garbage littering the forest, picnic areas, and roadsides after a busy weekend. Local businesses have initiated cleanup days and distributed messaging encouraging people to pick up after themselves - but Big Bear Leoco Fence has a new genius idea.

The soon to be Big Bear Community Garden encourages sled users to deposit their broken sleds into their dumpster to be used in a new art initiative showcasing the impact of plastic use and importance of recycling.

Avoid leaving your sleds abandoned in the forest and bring them to:
Leoco Fence Company
501 W Big Bear Blvd


The Big Bear Community Garden is tackling plastic sled litter with a creative new project!

Be A Positive Force In Our Community!

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." - Anne Frank

Big Bear Lake offers so many opportunities to help sustain and preserve the beauty of our mountains. The Adopt-a-Shoreline program - hosted by Big Bear Municipal Water District - lets volunteers adopt a section of the lake shoreline (or a trash can) and help keep that area clean throughout the seasons. Similar to the Adopt-a-Highway program, this is an excellent opportunity for kids, adults and community groups to participate in a great cause while enjoying some outdoor activity.

Best Practices and Principles

With so many visitors compared to the number of residents, we ask that you kindly help us keep the destination pristine for all visitors and residents. Please practice the following sustainable actions that help keep the forest and town a positive experience for all:

Before You Go

Quick Maps

Driving to Big Bear Lake is beautiful, but the drivers need to be alert and prepared for bad weather. Heavy wet weather can cause rock slides and road damage. Please check Caltrans Quick Maps (downloadable on Apple and Android devices) before you begin you Big Bear Trip!

Chain Control

All routes to and in Big Bear Lake are under a chain control area. That means from November 1 through April 1, all vehicles are required to carry chains. R1 & R2 chain restrictions mean chains, traction tires or snow tires are required on all vehicles except four wheel/all wheel drive vehicles. R3 mean chains are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.

Emergency Provisions

Be prepared for worst case scenarios. Make sure you have warm blankets and clothes in your vehicle, as well as food and water. Other items to include are flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, extra medication, jumper-cables, road flares and an ice scraper/snowbrush. If you get stranded, stay in your car, put on your flashers, call for help and wait until help arrives.

On you Way

Mountain Etiquette

In winter, driving the mountain can be difficult for some drivers. Be aware of safe driving speeds and if traffic accumulates behind you, please use turn-outs to let traffic safely flow smoothly. Pulling off at these turnouts for snow play activity is not recommended. Turnouts help the flow of traffic, but too many cars parked for long periods of time becomes dangerous!

While Visit Big Bear recommends safer alternatives to sledding - like snow tubing at Big Bear Snow Play and Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain - the U.S. Forest Service does have a list of sledding/tubing areas available in the San Bernardino National Forest. Please play responsibly - Away from traffic and obstacles and away from closed areas like the Bald Eagle Habitat.

During Your Stay

Treat Our House Like Your House

One of Big Bear Lake’s charms is that most businesses, cabins and lodges are locally-owned. It’s one of the reasons why your stay means so much to the livelihood of Big Bear Lake residents. Kindly treat these spaces with the same respect you should show your own home and your neighbors’ homes. Do not leave trash on private property or allow it to blow away. We practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace, and we encourage you to do so too! Every year, thousands of broken sleds and countless pieces of trash are left behind - in the forest and along the roads - please do not be a part of this statistic.


Please stay off lake ice! Big Bear Lake's ice is thin through the winter and not suitable for walking or playing. The risk to your life - and those of rescuers if you fall through - is not worth it. Hefty fines await those who violate this county order.

Enjoying Nature Responsibly

Enjoying Nature Responsibly

Think About Light Use - A mile closer to the sky and light years away from city lights makes Big Bear Lake the ideal spot for stargazing - and avoiding unnecessary energy use!

Stargazing Pro Tip - Download a constellation app to your mobile device and explore the stars. For a better stargazing experience, be sure to always turn off lights that aren’t in use.

Think About Water Use - Like the rest of California, Big Bear Lake frequently experiences drought-like conditions. Conserve water usage by limiting shower-time and other water usage activities.

Think About Fire Danger - One careless match, one burning cigarette tossed out the window, or one neglected campfire can destroy the homes of both residents and our precious wildlife.

Please Visit Again Soon!

We Hope to See you Again Soon

Check Out Spring and Fall Rates when lodging accommodations are dramatically more affordable and there are deals to be had on activities and dining!

Big Bear Lake is Southern California's winter wonderland. The area has even been called a Gingerbread Village Come To Life! Or visit during the spring - or as we like to say, ADVENTURE SEASON! - when the lake opens for boats and marina business and outdoor recreation comes to life. Visit us in fall for the best autumn colors in Southern California, our popular Oktoberfest, and other Falltacular events!