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Before you head to Big Bear Lake, study maps of the area and make a plan from Point A to Point B. When selecting a route, consider traffic conditions, weather conditions, chain requirements, and road work notices. Do not not rely on GPS to guide you without studying the route beforehand. Some roads in mountain regions are unpaved and unsuitable for 2-wheel drive or low riding vehicles. Your GPS may not make you aware of this.

Check traffic and road conditions prior to departing and have a passenger monitor changes on the CalTrans Quickmaps guide.

3 Main Routes

The most familiar route to Big Bear for motorists traveling from Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and the Inland Empire is the I-210 to Hwy. 330 (through Highland). However, other routes to consider are Hwy. 38 (through Redlands) or Hwy. 18 (through Lucerne Valley) if you're travelling from Las Vegas or other desert communities.

You can also use Hwy. 18 through Crestline, however we recommend the other routes listed above.

Map of major highways leading to Big Bear
Click to Enlarge

Mountain Transit

Once you're in town, Mountain Transit provides dial-a-ride and fixed route service through Big Bear Valley. You can also take Mountain Transit public transportation from San Bernardino, Victorville, and Lake Arrowhead to Big Bear Lake.

The Big Bear Trolley offers a unique riding experience every weekend! Avoid driving and get a ride through town while learning some interesting facts about Big Bear. See their website to find stops and fares.

All Mountain Transit buses are wheelchair accessible and are equipped with bike racks.

Driving During Stormy Weather and Peak Periods

When arriving or leaving Big Bear during a snow storm or peak visitation periods, consider these:
- Hwy. 330 tends to be the most traveled route and tends to see the heaviest traffic on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Holidays like Christmas are also very busy and see extreme traffic delays.
- Traffic to from Snow Valley also adds congestion to Hwy. 330 during opening and closing times.
- Hwy. 18 to/from Lucerne Valley tends to be the best route in snowy weather. Traffic can be heaviest on weekends, holidays, and after a snowstorm.
- Hwy. 38 can be an alternative for heavy traffic periods.
- REGARDLESS OF THE ROUTE YOU CHOOSE, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR SNOWY CONDITIONS IN THE WINTER AND ANY TRAFFIC HAZARDS THAT MAY APPEAR.