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Best Wildflower Sightings in Big Bear

Spring is here and Southern California is experiencing an exceptional superbloom this year. In Big Bear Lake, since we are an alpine mountain community, our superbloom is just getting ready to show its colors. Here are a few extraordinary places for you to capture the beauty of our wildflower season.

Look out for Scotch broom flowers near HWY 330
Photo Credit: UrsulasWeeklyWanders

If you choose to drive up HWY 330 to Big Bear Lake this Spring and Summer, you’ll see an explosion of bright yellow flowers along the road that have the most intoxicating scent imaginable. These go by two different names, Sweet Broom or Scotch Broom, depending on who you ask. When they are in full bloom you’ll want to roll down your windows as you’re driving and take in the sweet scent of these beautiful roadside wildflowers.

Look out for the delicate Belly Plants near Big Bear Lake

Have you ever heard of ‘Belly Plants’? They are delicate, low-lying, yet hardy little plants with a variety of colors that are best viewed when you get down on your belly to see them. The only place on earth they can be found is in Big Bear Lake. The Baldwin Lake Ecological Reserve at the east end of Big Bear valley is open every other Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and offers a guided tour of the Pebble Plains at 11:30 a.m. Open April 13 & 27, May 11 & 25, June 8 & 22.

Marvel at the deep purple Lupine and red Indian Paintbrush near Buff Lake Reserve

Just a few miles west of The Village in Big Bear is Bluff Lake Reserve. It is the icing on the cake of a 4-mile drive winding through the forest where you will see a variety of wildflowers including, deep purple Lupine, white and green Corn Lilies, white and yellow Yarrow and red/orange Indian Paintbrush. Once you arrive at Bluff Lake Reserve, you’ll want to take your time with a slow hike around this magical 20 acre lake to see the majestic old-growth trees, colorful wildflowers, a variety of birds, damselflies flitting across the pond and the beautiful rock formations that will keep the kids scrambling to find the best outcroppings. Keep an eye out for the small frogs that live in the holes along this .08 mile hike. These high-altitude wildflowers are best viewed from mid-May to late June or early July.

Marvel at the deep purple Lupine and red Indian Paintbrush near Buff Lake Reserve
Photo Credit: Wendy Craig

Woodland Interpretive Trail and Cougar Crest Trail are both on the North Shore and have a variety of wildflowers along with cactus blooms to photograph as you wander up the trail. Woodland Interpretive Trail is a 1 ½ mile loop trail and is a favorite for everyone, especially families with small children or an easy loop for walking your pets.

Enjoy the twisting junipers near Pacific Crest Trail

Cougar Crest Trail is a 4-mile in/out hike that connects to the Pacific Crest Trail and offers amazing lake views from the upper section. Twisting Junipers, cactus blooms and a huge variety of wildflowers can be found along this route. Bonus: You can take a selfie next to the PCT sign at the top of the trail.

Enjoy the creeks near Castle Rock Trail
Photo Credit: Keith Blackard

Castle Rock Trail is by far the top choice for hiking in Big Bear. In the Spring the creek is running and the waterfall is happily splashing it’s way down the mountain. All of the moisture from winter’s snow and rain bring the colorful blooms to life this time of year along the creeks and throughout the forest, with some even popping up out of the boulder outcroppings.

Discover green ferns and corn lilies near the Champion Lodgepole Trail

Start at the beginning of the ½ mile Champion Lodgepole Trail and wander along the seasonal creek to see the brightly colored wildflowers popping up along the creek bed. You’ll end up at the Champion Lodgepole Pine where the forest floor is covered with bright green ferns and Corn Lilies and a wide variety of other wildflowers throughout the meadow.

Bike along the Alpine Pedal Path admiring the junipers and pines

The Alpine Pedal Path is a paved pathway along the lake passing through meadows teeming with wildflowers and wildlife, a juniper and pine forest with colorful blooms in the sunnier areas and outstanding views of the lake. This trail is accessible to everyone. A local favorite for bikers, joggers, families and people who just want a smooth path with views of beautiful Big Bear Lake.

Go mountain biking at snow Summit Downhill Bike Park
Photo Credit: Lee Stockwell

If you love hiking and mountain biking in Big Bear, Snow Summit Downhill Bike Park opens on Memorial Weekend and is a must for Adventure Season. The wildflowers are off the hook. If you’d rather glide up the mountain on the Scenic Sky Chair, you can get an ‘Above it All’ peek at the bright blooms all over the mountainside and either ride the chair back down or hike it to get some great photos.

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