Big Bear Lake, California, is a small town nestled in between the lake of the same name and rugged mountains. Located in south-central California, northeast of San Bernardino, Big Bear Lake is a popular portal for outdoor activity year-round, a snowball's throw from two ski mountains and close to the many trails which penetrate San Bernardino National Forest. Within relatively easy driving distance of Los Angeles and Inland Empire cities, Big Bear Lake has long been a favorite amongst valley-based urbanites with a thing for the great outdoors.
But it's not just vertical feet and foot trails the area has to offer - Big Bear Lake isn't overly large but there is enough waterspace to share between pirate ship tours, pleasure boaters, anglers and water skiers. This is a snow-fed reservoir so the water can be quite chilly year-round, though hearty swimmers can enjoy a few strokes in designated areas on really warm summer days. Those outdoor enthusiasts more interested in exploring land than water can off-road, hike, bike, golf and bird; Snow Summit, one of the two area ski resorts, has a lift operational year-round, which offers access to trails higher up the mountain. For a little cultural entertainment between downhill runs and lakeside activity pay the wolves and bears at local zoo (Moonridge Animal Park) a visit. Also worth a stop is Big Bear Discovery Center, good for an educational introduction to the region's wild side and a great source for information on hiking and biking trails.
In winter, Big Bear Mountain is the only place to go skiing or snowboarding in southern California. The two ski resorts on the mountain, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain Resort, provide skiers and snowboarders with a wide variety of terrain. "The Park" at Bear Mountain Resort is a freestyle terrain park and caters to all abilities. Big Bear Mountain is well known as a resort that is dedicated almost entirely to freestyle skiers and snowboarders. Big Bear Mountain and Snow Summit boast some of the best snow-making and grooming capabilities in southern California.
Big Bear Lake hosts a wide variety of events year-round. Look for events like jazz festivals, Oktoberfest, freestyle skiing and snowboarding competitions, mountain bike and cross country races, trout classics, one-day car shows, regattas, an Old Miner's Day festival and rodeos.
Big Bear Lake is 40 miles northeast of San Bernardino, 88 miles from Anaheim and about 100 miles from downtown Los Angeles.