In any season, a drive to Big Bear Lake through the San Bernardino National Forest is a wonderful experience. Winding roads through cascading hills and mountains lead you to a destination worlds apart from the bustling cities below. Wooden sculptures line The Village streets, the smell of fresh pine fills the air, and a town full of rustic cabins and mom n' pop shops welcome your arrival.

Leave No Trace logo

We welcome visitors year-round to our little mountain community, but ask that you treat our home with care by abiding by city ordinances, picking up after yourself, and respecting our wildlife and environment. Things to remember are:

Plan Ahead and Prepare

  • Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you you’ll visit. Particularly fire restrictions.
  • Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies
  • Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use
  • Visit in small groups when possible. Consider splitting larger groups into smaller groups
  • Repackage food to minimize waste

Leave What You Find

  • Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts
  • Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find them
  • Do not introduce or transport non-native species.
  • Do not transport firewood into the Valley from other areas. Firewood Task Force
  • Do not build structures, furniture, or dig trenches in the wilderness.

Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

  • Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites, rock, gravel, dry grass or snow.
  • Protect riparian areas by camping at least 200 feet from the lakes and streams
  • Good campsites are found, not made. Do not alter a site.

In popular areas:

  • Keep use on existing trails and campsites
  • Walk single file in the middle of the trail, even when wet or muddy
  • Keep Campsite small. Focus activity in areas where vegetation is absent

In pristine areas:

  • Disperse use to prevent the creation of campsites and trails
  • Avoid places where impacts are just beginning

Minimize Campfire Impacts

  • Campfires can cause lasting impacts to the environment. Use a lightweight stove for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light
  • Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires
  • Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can be broken by hand
  • Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely, then scatter cool ashes
  • Campfire Safety

Respect Wild Life

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors and exposes them to predators and dangers
  • Protect wildlife and your food by sorting rations and trash securely
  • Control pets at all times, or leave them at home
  • Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting, raising young, or winter

Dispose of waste properly

  • Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food and litter
  • Deposit solid human waste in catholes dug 6 to 8 inches deep, at least 200 feet from the water, camp and trails. Cover and disguise the cathole when finished
  • Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products
  • To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 200 feet away from streams or lakes and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter strained dishwater

Be Considerate of other Visitors

  • Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience
  • Be courteous. Yield to other users on the trail
  • Step to the downhill side of the trail when encountering pack stock
  • Take breaks and camp away from trails and other visitors
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises

A Message From Big Bear Lake Students