A snowy winter road in Big Bear Lake

Traveler's Guide to Big Bear Lake!

Posted: 01/24/20

We've got all the answers to the IAQs (Infrequently Asked Questions) you should be asking!

So, you visited and explored all the great activities to enjoy seasonally and year-round, you reserved your lodging through our new booking widget, and now the time has come to make the trip to Big Bear Lake!

Even if this wasn’t exactly how it happened, we thank you for choosing us to host your mountain getaway and hope that it’s splendid. If you did visit our site, you may have seen our FAQs page but we’d like to give you a few answers to ‘Infrequently Asked Questions’ that may serve you well on your trip.

Traveling IAQs

When is traffic heaviest into/out of Big Bear?

The heaviest traffic up the hill is typically seen Friday afternoons and evenings as well as Saturdays. If you can, travel midweek and avoid traffic congestion during peak/off-peak season.

Consider taking Highway 38 from Redlands or Highway 18 from Lucerne Valley to avoid heavier traffic on Highway 330.

Do I need chains? How do I put chains on? And how can I keep up with road conditions or chain restrictions?

Though you may not need to install chains, you must carry them in your vehicle from November 1st to April 1st every winter. For info and updates on chain restrictions and road conditions please follow Caltrans Quickmaps or download the app. Please refer to our Winter Driving Guide for tips and info on traction devices.

Once You’re Here IAQs

We’re here! Where can I get some good locals’ advice on activities and general info?

Our Visitor Center at the corner of Big Bear Blvd and Pine Knot Ave is fully staffed with knowledgeable experts on activities, events, and recommendations.

Where should I dispose of my trash?

Many rental homes require you to take your trash with you when you check out. Trash and recyclables can be disposed of at these two Clean Bear Sites in town:

  • Clean Bear Site #141790 Garstin Drive, Big Bear Lake, CA 92315
  • Clean Bear Site #239690 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake, CA 92315

Is there public transportation?

Mountain Transit offers a Dial-A-Ride service along with a weekend Trolley that’s just $5 for unlimited boarding and re-boarding. Uber and Lyft services are also available at drivers’ discretion.

Are there free/paid public overnight parking lots?

There are no public or paid overnight lots in Big Bear, unfortunately. Private home rentals and traditional lodging facilities have limited and enforced parking restrictions. Consider carpooling when traveling to Big Bear.

Safety IAQs

Can we walk on the lake ice?

Walking/playing on lake ice is forbidden by county code and punishable by fine. The consequences can be far more grave however, as falling through into the frigid water can cost you your life.

I saw a [name of animal here], what do I do?

Wild animals like bears, coyotes, deer, and many other species are native to the San Bernardino Forest so it’s possible you may see them during your visit. Typically these animals will avoid humans but if you do come across any wild animal, be sure to leave the area and do not attempt to approach, pet, or feed them. Human contact is harmful to our wild animal residents, and a scared or threatened animal may feel the need to attack. Never allow small children or pets to wander off unattended and always keep car doors and cabin doors locked to avoid any unwanted guests.

Please see these guidelines for bear encounters and these guidelines for living with wildlife.

Activities IAQs

Can we go sledding outside of the tubing hills?

Sledding is permitted in public areas however you must never engage in snow play near a highway or anywhere you might slide into traffic. Private property is off limits to snow play at all times and hefty fines are issued for violations. We highly recommend either sledding within your cabin’s property lines or enjoying one of our three snow play areas in the Valley.

I purchased lift tickets online and have to pick them up. Must I go to the ski resort?

No! You can pick up and purchase lift tickets at the Big Bear Mountain Resort desk in our Visitor Center!

What’s an Adventure Pass and do I need one?

Adventure Passes are needed whenever you park on National Forest land. This includes most trail head parking lots and picnic areas. Adventure Passes can be purchased in our Visitor Center.

Big Bear On A Budget IAQs

How can I save money on lodging?

Mid-week bookings typically have a lower rate per night than weekends. Consider taking those unused vacay days (Did You Know? Last year, 768 million vacation days in America went unused?) and save some money by traveling weekdays. Off-peak seasons (spring and fall) also see lower lodging rates than snow season and the middle of summer.

Where can I find coupons or deals?

Check out our steals and deals on! Individual businesses may also be offering promos and discounts on their listing. Check it all out before you shop and dine!

Click here for more Big Bear Lake travel tools to help plan your trip.