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Visitor Safety

Everything you need to know from COVID-19 Guidelines, to Recreation Safety, Driving Tips, and More!

An escape to the mountains is sometimes all you need to recharge and refresh your spirit! Getting up close and personal with nature can feel so relaxing, but it's important to remember that certain risks come with venturing into the wilderness - even if you're on established trails or within developed campgrounds. When planning your camping trip, hiking weekend, or ski adventure, remember some of these points to avoid potential issues along the way.

Coronavirus Guidelines While Visiting

  • Please see latest Big Bear Lake updates for COVID-19.
  • Practice social distancing of 6 feet and do not gather with anyone you do not live with.
  • Wash hands often, especially after using the restroom, before you eat, and after any recreation activities.
  • Carry hand sanitizer with you in case you do not have access to soap and water.
  • Face coverings are required in public.
  • Do not travel within or outside your community if you feel sick or have symptoms of illness.
  • Stick to outdoor activities that allow you to social distance. Discover Things To Do.

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

Never travel into mountain regions before checking and preparing for projected weather and road conditions >>> PREPARE

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

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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.

Keep Big Bear Beautiful

  • 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.
  • If you come across an injured animal, DO NOT APPROACH IT, call the Injured Animal Hotline at 909-584-1299.

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!