Four Perfect Family Friendly Hikes
Posted: 08/19/11 | By Daniel
Set against Southern California's signature blue sky, Big Bear's mountain landscape offers family friendly hikes - dramatic and sweeping views, lush meadows and even quiet forest settings.
Lodge Pole Pine - Directions: Take Forest Road 2N10 to 2N11. Follow 2N11 to the Champion Lodge pole Pine parking lot.
Roundtrip - 4 miles: This hike begins with a slight downhill trek for 1/2 mile to the largest known lodge pole pine in the world. Across from the Pine is a lush meadow covered in flowers for most of the summer. From here backtrack to the Siberia Creek Trail and hike 1 1/2 miles to Gunsight. Depending on the time of year, the creek offers a refreshing change to Big Bear's usually dry geography. You'll hike along a mostly flat trail down through the forest. As you near Gunsight large outcroppings of boulders will come into view and the trail will begin to cross a side hill to your right as lofty views of the Bear Creek drainage canyon open to your left. Total elevation change is 700 feet one-way.
Pacific Crest Trail - Directions: From North Shore Drive make a right onto Polique Canyon Road, a Forest Road. The PCT crosses Polique Canyon Road at the crest of the ridge. Limited parking is located at the trail crossing while other parking is available by dropping down towards Holcomb Valley.
Roundtrip - 3-4 miles: While you can take either direction on the PCT from Polique, I prefer to hike west. The trail meanders through the forest before crossing a side hill. Here views of Big Bear Lake are ample. Continue hiking through scrub oak and around bends as the views continue. After a mile the trail crests the ridge and continues on the north side. Here views change to a spectacular overview of Holcomb Valley. As you hike along this route consider what it must be like to continue on this trail all the way to Canada. Any point is your turnaround and turning around at a prominent fire road represents four miles roundtrip.
Woodland Trail - Directions: Located on North Shore Boulevard a large parking lot with facilities is located across from Big Bear Lake's
East Ramp launch site.\r\nRoundtrip - 1.5 miles: loop trail is a self-guided nature walk and can begin on either side of the parking lot. Minimal elevation gain makes this trail particularly enjoyable for all members of your hiking party. The trail winds its way through the forest with occasional views and offers hikers many cool spots to enjoy a snack or lunch. Afterwards, wander down to the Lake for a refreshing dip.
Snow Summit - Directions: Snow Summit resort offers scenic chair rides throughout the summer and delivers hikers to the top of Big Bear's spectacular southern ridge.
Lift-served hiking can't get any better. Views of San Gorgonio's 11,499 foot summit dominate and hikers can wander in any direction. This adds a little adventure when you follow your own path, right? Enjoy a stroll down to Forest Road 2N10 and ride the lift back down. Or hike back down to the base area using any number of trails and Forest Roads. But don't forget to turn your back on San Gorgonio once in a while - the vista of Big Bear Lake from the top of Snow Summit isn't too shabby.
Hiking in Big Bear offers something for everyone and we are fortunate enough to have an extended season - May through November depending on what winter brings us. But always remember to be prepared and carry essential items with you on the trail including water, sunscreen, extra clothing, a map, and snacks. Enjoy!