Visitor FAQs

Are there public restrooms and public parking lots?

Public restrooms are located at:

  • Big Bear Lake Visitor Center
  • Bartlett Public Parking Lot
  • Rotary Park
  • Knickerbocker Public Parking Lot
  • Cougar Crest Trailhead
  • Woodland Trailhead
  • Aspen Glen Picnic Area

Parks & Rec Locations >>> Addresses & Info

  • Meadow Park (Big Bear Lake)
  • Ski Beach (Big Bear Lake)
  • Sugarloaf Park
  • Miller Park (Fawnskin)
  • Dana Point Park (Fawnskin)
  • Erwin Lake Park
  • Tennis Ranch (Erwin Lake)

Public Parking Lots are located at:

  • Bartlett Road
  • Knickerbocker Road
  • Pennsylvania Road (EV charging stations available)
  • Behind the Dynasty restaurant (Alden Lot)
  • Parking is permitted along city streets as long as snow conditions are not in effect

Are there electric car charging stations in Big Bear?

EV Charging stations are now available at the Pennsylvania Parking Lot. Please be advised that public EV stations are extremely limited. It is not advised to drive electric cars to Big Bear unless you have researched if your lodging can provide a charging station.

Where Are Trash Disposal Sites?

The City maintains two public trash sites for both residents and visitors within the City of Big Bear Lake.

  • Fire House #2 (across from the Civic Center on Big Bear Blvd.)
  • Big Bear Disposal, 41974 Garstin Road

Locations & Info

For residents and visitors outside of the area, please use provided trash bins at your location.

When is peak & off-peak season?

Big Bear has two peak seasons. Winter, from Thanksgiving to March, is by far the most popular due to the snowfall that drives excited visitors into the area. Snow is a treat for anyone living in Southern California or warmer areas and many visitors are seeing snow for the first time.

The second peak season is summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend. Big Bear is an easy destination for Southern California families during summer holidays from school. Mild summer temperatures in Big Bear are also inviting for travelers escaping heat waves in the cities and deserts.

For the least crowded times in Big Bear, look to the spring and fall seasons. April and May offer beautiful springtime landscapes with newly green foliage and wildflower blooms while late September through November see the vibrant crimsons, yellows, and oranges of fall foliage. Many Big Bear attractions also feature fall specific recreation and an array of Halloween fun!

What is the climate/temperatures?

Big Bear averages over 300 days of sunshine each year and temperatures vary throughout the seasons. Summer temperatures average 77 degrees daytime and 45 degrees at night. Winter brings about 120 inches of annual snowfall with temps in the mid-40s during the day and mid-20s at night.

Big Bear sits at about 7,000 feet elevation and the climate tends to be drier. We always recommend that visitors stay hydrated with extra water during their stay and use sunscreen vigorously as UV rays are more intense at altitude.

Where is Big Bear?

Big Bear is a close drive for most Southern California residents. From Los Angeles it's only a 2-hour drive, San Diego is a two-and-a-half-hour drive, and Las Vegas is a 3-and-a-half-hour drive - traffic depending of course!

Find Directions!

What are my transportation options?

Big Bear is a drive destination and we recommend fly-in visitors from Southern California airports to rent a vehicle to access Big Bear.

However, once in town, the Big Bear Free Trolley is available to everyone. With 3 routes through the valley riders can access grocery stores, the ski resorts, The Village, and other areas for free. The Big Bear Cab Company also offers transportation within the Valley and off the mountain.

Important! If you're driving in the mountain region from Nov 1 to Apr 30, you must carry chains in your vehicle, even if you aren't required to put them on. CalTrans has the authority to stop traffic and check for chains during stormy or icy conditions.

Where is the closest airport?

Ontario International Airport is the closest airport. Other airports include Palm Springs International Airport, John Wayne Airport in Orange County and LAX in Los Angeles. The Big Bear Airport is the valley's own municipal airport for private planes.

Banking Services & ATMs

Full Service Banking:

  • First Mountain Bank (909) 866-5861
  • Union Bank of California (909) 866-3447
  • Alaska USA Federal Credit Union (800) 525-9094
  • US Bank (909) 866-9720
  • Citibank (909) 366-5162

Attraction & Activity FAQs

Where Can I Get Info on Activities & Restaurants?

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.

You can also explore activities on our Things To Do page and restaurants on our Dining & Nightlife page.

Where Do I Find Info About Events?

Community events are listed on our Events Calendar page. See what's happening in Big Bear during your visit!

Also be sure to look at our Annual Events page with detailed information about sponsored events like Oktoberfest, holiday specific recreation, fishing tournaments, hiking and biking events, and much more!

Are attractions open year round?

Year-round attractions include:

  • San Bernardino National Forest trails are open 365 days per year for hiking and biking in summer and snowshoeing in the winter.
  • Though marinas are closed in the late fall through winter, the lake shoreline is open for fishing year-round.
  • Big Bear Mountain Resort operates on a year-round basis with skiing and snowboarding in the winter and mountain biking in the summer.
  • Ziplining and Segway tours with Action Tours
  • 4X4 tours with Big Bear Off-Road Experience
  • Horseback riding tours with Baldwin Lake Stables
  • Big Bear Ropes Course and the Alpine Slide are open year-round with various attractions.
  • Big Bear Alpine Zoo
  • Helicopter Big Bear tours

Search other recreation and activities here >>> Things to Do

What attractions and lodging are pet friendly?

Many Big Bear lodges and private homes allow for a dog to stay with you in your accommodations and many restaurants have outdoor patios that allow dogs to join their owners for a meal. When it comes to lake activities, dogs can splash into the fun too. Well-behaved dogs can ride along on a pontoon rental, fishing boat, and some tour boats. See a list of Big Bear's pet-friendly accommodations. For recreation, call attractions directly for pet info.

What attractions are kid friendly?

It's a fact, kids have the most fun of all in Big Bear! Here are some ideas from our Blog for kid friendly adventure:

Hiking With Little OnesThings To Do With Kids - SummerSpring Family Fun
Winter Family FunFamily Fun in the FallSensory Friendly Big Bear

What is the difference between the ski resorts?

Big Bear is home to 2 ski resorts in the winter: Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.

These resorts are owned and operated by Big Bear Mountain Resort who also operates the Summit Bike Park in the summer on the Snow Summit property and Bear Mountain Golf Course in Moonridge.

While both ski resorts offer similar experiences, each have their own overall focus. Snow Summit features the best beginner terrain with 2 beginner chairlifts in the base area and a 'Green' top-to-bottom run with speed control on site. Advanced terrain also offers experienced skiers and riders a range of steeps, moguls, and park features.

Bear Mountain features the best beginner park areas with skill builder areas along with more advanced terrain.

Visitor Safety Information

Winter Snow Play Safety

Snow play outside of tubing hills is permitted on public property which includes the National Forest, parks, and picnic areas. If you choose to enjoy snow in these areas, please be courteous and remember:

  • Sledding near and into streets is extremely dangerous as cars use roadways year-round.
  • Sledding or playing on lake ice is both illegal and life threatening.
  • Trespassing on private property is illegal at all times.
  • Do not leave broken sleds behind in parks, picnic areas, or other National Forest areas.
  • Do not leave trash behind in parks, picnic areas, or other National Forest areas.
  • Do not use turnouts to park for snow play. Other travelers will need them to put chains on, to let other drivers pass, and to pull over for emergencies.

Winter Driving Safety

Is it imperative that you check road and weather conditions before you travel into mountain regions. You will also need to have the appropriate equipment on hand should you need to install chains, dig out of a berm, or create traction. Don't play it by ear >>> PREPARE!

You must carry chains from November through April each year. Thank you for your cooperation!

Lake Ice Safety

In the winter months (and occasionally in the fall and spring) Big Bear Lake can freeze over at the surface. It is illegal (S.B. COUNTY CODE 52.0502) to walk, run, play, or otherwise be on lake ice at any time. Please remember:

  • Lake ice does not get thick enough to support human weight
  • Falling through lake ice exposes you to freezing water temps that are life threatening
  • Falling through lake ice not only endangers your life, but also anyone else's life who works to retrieve you (i.e. fire dept).
  • A $500 fine and/or jail time awaits anyone caught violating this law

Care For Big Bear

  • Learn how to be a positive force in the community and Care For Big Bear!
  • Pack it in, pack it out! Take away all trash, even if it's not yours. This includes broken or unbroken snow sleds.
  • Carry a trash bag in your pocket or backpack to haul out your trash.
  • If a trash bin is full or overflowing, don't add to the problem. Pack up your garbage and take it with you.
  • Trash disposal sites can be found on Garstin Rd and Big Bear Blvd across from the Civic Center.
  • Do not leave trash in bins outside your cabin.
  • Follow Visit California's Responsible Travel Code and encourage others to do the same.
  • Stay on designated trails to avoid harming native plants and wearing down the environment.
  • Never take plants or animals out of the environment.

Respect Wildlife

  • Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them, animals that feel threatened may attack.
  • Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health, alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other dangers.
  • Let nature’s sounds prevail. Avoid loud noises so you do not disturb the wildlife.
  • Do not allow small children or pets to wander unattended!
  • Squirrels, chipmunks, coyotes, deer and other wildlife may wander into the road; please drive respectfully to avoid hitting them. Wildlife may be more likely to wander onto roadways at night, so please slow down.
  • Respect Forest Closures, this includes the bald eagle habitat that is closed to all from December through July. See Dec. 1, 2020 notice here.
  • If you come across an injured animal, DO NOT APPROACH IT, call the Injured Animal Hotline at 909-584-1299.

Stay in Established Areas

  • When hiking, mountain biking, or snowshoeing stick to well-marked and established trails.
  • Carry a map with you and plan your route before you venture off.
  • Pick up maps and Adventure Passes at the Visitor Center.
  • Tell someone where you're going and carry a phone to access help if necessary.
  • In winter, if there is snow, hiking trails on the North Shore are best. The snow melts faster and trails are more accessible.
  • Always yield to uphill hikers on a trail.
  • Take plenty of water, dress appropriately, and use sunscreen.
  • Camp in developed campgrounds and abide by San Bernardino National Forest fire/camping restrictions.
  • Stay on established roads when using 4X4 vehicles. Maintain your vehicle and keep it out of tall grass to avoid starting wildfires.

Lake Safety

In the summer months, swimming is permitted in Big Bear Lake at your own risk! There are NO lifeguards on duty and swimmers must stay within 50 feet of the shore or within 20 feet of a private dock. Swimming within the means of participating in water sports is also permitted with a life vest!

Each year, Big Bear Lake sees tragic drownings. Water temps in Big Bear Lake are colder than you may realize. According to NOAA, survival time is greatly reduced for someone immersed in water below 70°F, which describes Big Bear Lake for most of the year. Cold water reduces body heat up to 25 times faster than cold air, and cold water shock can cause immediate loss of breathing control. Roughly 20% of victims die in the first minute of cold water shock. Wearing a life jacket significantly increases the chances of being located and saved.

Don't Risk Your Life! Wear A Life Jacket!