A family hikes along a trail through the mountains at Big Bear

Taking On Big Bear: Easy Hikes In The Valley

Posted: 06/05/19

Spring is making its way to the Big Bear Valley which means it’s time to start taking advantage of outdoor recreation – like hiking!

Not ready for a grueling trek to start off your season? We’ve compiled a few easier routes for you to start out with; and they’re perfect for younger kids too.

Alpine Pedal Path

This is about as easy as it gets, there’s no dirt involved either. The fully paved Alpine Pedal Path extends 2.5 miles one way on the North Shore from Stanfield Cutoff to the Solar Observatory (or vice versa). A diversion about halfway through will also take you to the Cougar Crest trail head and the Big Bear Discovery Center. You have options here!

This route is a popular spot for dog walkers, cyclists, and picnickers as it offers some of Big Bear’s most scenic views of the lake and ski resorts.

Happy Hills Trail

This newer trail, added in June 2017, is ADA compliant to allow anyone to enjoy Big Bear’s trails system. The fenced and fully-paved path begins from the City Hall parking lot. Trail users can admire historical buildings and protected wildlife along the .2 miles stretch and use one of the numerous picnic tables that border the trail.

Woodland Interpretive Trail

If you’re ready to trek off-road, The Woodland Interpretive Trail is located directly across from the Carol Morrison Public Launch Ramp on the North Shore. This easy 1.5 mile loop winds through the National Forest woodlands and features 16 posted stops that are part of a self-guided tour; pick up an info brochure at the trail head.

Several boulder outcroppings and rock gardens are a blast for kids to climb on. This route also offers some great lake views!

To park in the lot requires an Adventure Pass or an America the Beautiful Pass. Parking is also available at the launch ramp and along the North Shore Hwy.

Towne Trail

Beginning from the Snow Summit base area, Towne Trail weaves through Big Bear’s south side woodlands with views of the north shore and the lake. This easy route is ideal for beginner mountain bikers as well! When the trails forks at Forest Service Road 2N08, loop back for a 2.5 mile (slightly longer) round trip or take a right down the hill and finish on Knickerbocker Road near The Village.

Champion Lodgepole Trail

Visit one of the largest Lodgepole Pine trees in the world! This easy trek takes you through a lush forest to Bluff Meadows where bright green ferns cover the forest floor. Hikers can take in the colorful wildflowers alongside a seasonal stream and wander wide-open spaces filled with corn lilies on their way to the Champion Lodgepole Pine.

Hiking the trail begins by driving up Mill Creek Road (Forest Road 2N10-dirt road) for 4.5 miles, then turning right on 2N11 and continue 1 mile to the trailhead. Vehicles with high ground clearance recommended.

Discovery Center Guided Hikes

Looking for a little something extra? The Big Bear Discovery Center offers guided tours every week for nature enthusiasts! And they’re free!

  • Eco-tour hikes take place each weekend on the Discovery Center’s own ½ mile trail. On this 30-45 minute trek, your expert guide will give you the rich history of the Valley and an in-depth look at Big Bear’s local flora and fauna!
  • Explore Big Bear by night Thursday evenings from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. This non-strenuous trek is perfect for hikers of all ability levels.

Visit the Discovery Center’s event page for Nature Walk and Night Hike times.

Safety First

Hiking in the mountains should be a fulfilling and fun experience. Be sure you’re prepared for the outing with plenty of sunscreen, snacks, and hydration. If you’re familiar with the trails, make sure to stay along the path to avoid getting lost and if you’re new to Big Bear, always have a trail map handy. Last but not least, keep our trails clean! If you packed it to go out, pack it to take back and leave no trace.

Let us know how you did by sharing your outing with us on social media. Tag your pics with #TakeOnBigBear!