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Big Bear Lake trails are known for their breathtaking views and pristine natural environment, but Valley routes don't only cater to hikers and bikers, 4X4 off-road recreation is a popular past time and Big Bear boasts some world renown trails!

Read on to learn about off-road trails for the casual 4X4 driver and beginner, intermediate, and expert drivers.

Tip: Take it slow and be courteous. Hikers, mountain bikers, motorcyclists and animals also use these trails.

It is recommended that you use a 4X4 vehicle suited for rough and rocky roads when exploring these trails! Low sitting, 2-wheel drive vehicles may become stuck or damaged.

A man gives the thumbs up in a Jeep off road

4x4 Trails for the Casual Off-Roader

On the North Shore, the most easily accessible off-road trail is the Gold Fever Trail. Pack a lunch and head up Polique Canyon for a 3-hour self-guided tour of Holcomb Valley. You’ll learn about Big Bear's incredible gold mining history and see some amazing views of Big Bear's back country.

On the South Shore, take forestry road 2N10 from Mill Creek Rd. This is a seasonal road open from spring through fall. This can be a challenging road, so check road conditions with the Discovery Center before you head out. From this trail, you can access the Bluff Lake Reserve and the famed Champion Lodgepole Trail. The Champion Lodgepole Pine is the oldest tree in Big Bear Valley and rumor has it that if you circle the tree three times and make a wish, it will come true.

For a list of other vehicle friendly off-road trails visit the Discovery Center or Big Bear Lake Visitor Center.

Beginner to Intermediate Trails

One of the most popular 4x4 trails in Big Bear is the road to Butler Peak Fire Lookout. It’s an easy drive, but only 4WD vehicles are recommended! The end of the trail is highlighted with sweeping views of Southern California.

On the South Shore, the 2N10 forest road from Mill Creek Rd winds around the mountain and brings you across Skyline Ridge. You'll see boulder outcroppings, beautiful forested areas and spectacular views of San Gorgonio! Along this ridgeline, you will pass the back of Snow Summit Ski Resort and come out near Bear Mountain Ski Resort.

Advanced Only Trails

Through the standard off-road trail rating system, Big Bear boasts five black diamond trails and one double black diamond trail. These are not for the casual off-roader! Check out the off-road trails in Big Bear Lake.

On the North Shore you can head up the John Bull Trail for a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping, boulder crawling adventure. Make sure you have all of the equipment you need for any kind of failure, be it human or vehicle related. This trail is no joke! If you have never attempted this trail, please call the Big Bear Discovery Center or Big Bear Jeep Experience to get the most up-to-date and relevant info.

If you run into a problem and need help getting out, you can call Big Bear Off-Road Recovery and Towing.

Brad Kowitz from TrailRecon

Brad Kowitz from TrailRecon