Discovering the Hidden Gems of Big Bear Lake

Discovering The Hidden Gems of Big Bear Lake

We love writing about the hidden gems of Big Bear Lake. Though you may be familiar with the lake, Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, The Village, Big Bear Zoo, and other popular spots in the area… today we’re going to help you discover a few new places.

To access some of these secluded treasures, a National Forest Pass may be necessary, and a 4-wheel drive vehicle is advisable for traversing rugged terrains. This guide aims to unveil the secret wonders of Big Bear Lake, offering a unique adventure off the beaten path. And it shares a little of the history of Big Bear Lake as well.

Places to Buy a National Forest Pass

Vendor NameAddressCityStateZipPhoneProducts
7 – Eleven #2280941440-A Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098667711Annual, Daily
Alpine Liquor41532 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098662824Annual, Daily, Secondary
Bear Valley Bikes40298 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098668000Annual, Daily, Secondary
Best Gas of Big Bear, Inc101 W Big Bear BlvdBig Bear CityCA923149095476909Annual, Daily, Secondary
Big 5 # 45641385 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098662730Annual, Daily, Secondary
Big Bear Discovery Center40971 North Shore Drive, Highway 38FawnskinCA923339093822790Annual, Daily, Secondary, Interagency Annual, Senior, Access
Big Bear Sporting Goods40544 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098663222Annual, Daily, Secondary
Big Bear Vacations41693 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098668200Annual, Daily, Secondary
Big Bear Visitor Center40824 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098666190Annual, Daily, Secondary
Boulder Bay Liquor39176 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098664420Annual, Daily, Secondary
Chirp Nature Center578 Bonanza TrailBig Bear LakeCA923158884124477Annual, Daily, Secondary
GetBoards.com40905 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098783155Annual, Daily, Secondary – Boulder Bay39166 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098783155Annual, Daily, Secondary
Gold Rush Resort Rentals & Giftshop40016 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098665678Annual, Daily, Secondary
Johnny’s Ski & Board House39769 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA92315-33099098665924Annual, Daily
Lakeview Market40133 Big Bear BlvdBig Bear LakeCA923159098663912Annual, Daily, Secondary
Leroy’s Shoes & Clothing598 Paine RoadBig Bear LakeCA923159098664887Annual, Daily, Secondary
Our Town Liquor40568 Village Drive, #ABig Bear LakeCA923159098662330Annual, Daily, Secondary

Off-the-Beaten-Path Activities

Castle Rock Trail

Yes, we previously wrote an in-depth article on Castle Rock Trail and China Island, that said… Castle Rock Trail is such an amazing trail, we decided to cover it again.

Castle Rock Trail is a moderate 2.6-mile hike that leads to a stunning viewpoint overlooking Big Bear Lake. The trail is named after a large granite rock formation that resembles a castle. This hike is a local favorite that offers a peaceful escape from the crowds. Lush greenery, wildflowers, and ample opportunities to spot local wildlife coupled with breathtaking views are a few of the reasons to ascend this trail. Your final ascent to Castle Rock provides a breathtaking view that captures the essence of Big Bear’s natural beauty.

The trail has been a part of Big Bear’s landscape for generations and is considered a symbol of the area’s natural beauty. It’s a place where locals and visitors can connect with nature and enjoy the panoramic views. Castle Rock itself is a geological wonder, formed over millions of years, and has become an iconic landmark in the region.

The formation’s unique shape and structure have made it a subject of geological studies, revealing insights into the area’s geological past. Local legends and folklore have also been associated with Castle Rock, adding a mystical allure to the trail. Over the years, the trail has become a favorite spot for photographers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts, preserving its status as one of Big Bear’s hidden gems.

Gold Fever Trail

Gold Fever Trail is a self-guided driving tour that takes you through the rich history of the Gold Rush era. The trail passes through ghost towns, mining sites, and historical landmarks, offering a glimpse into the past. Along the way, interpretive signs provide information about the mining techniques, the daily life of miners, and the impact of the Gold Rush on the region. The trail is a journey through time that tells the story of the area’s gold mining heritage.

Gold Fever Trail follows the path of the original gold miners who came to Big Bear in the 1860s. It’s a journey through time that tells the story of the area’s gold mining heritage. The trail takes you through the once-thriving mining communities, where you can still see remnants of mining equipment and structures. It’s a tangible connection to a bygone era that shaped our area’s history.

Gold Fever Trail not only offers a glimpse into the lives of the miners but also the economic and social impact of the Gold Rush on Big Bear. The discovery of gold brought a wave of settlers, leading to the establishment of new towns and communities. The trail’s route passes through sites that were once bustling with activity, now standing as silent witnesses to a vibrant past. Interpretive signs along the trail provide detailed information, making it an educational experience that connects visitors with a crucial chapter in California’s history.

Holcomb Valley Trail

Holcomb Valley Trail offers a variety of rock climbing routes for all skill levels. Located in the historic Holcomb Valley, it’s a great place to challenge yourself and enjoy the natural surroundings. The valley is filled with unique rock formations, providing diverse climbing experiences. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced climber, the trails offer something for everyone.

Holcomb Valley was named after William F. Holcomb, who discovered gold there in 1860. The valley became a bustling mining area, and the trails now offer a connection to this rich history. Remnants of mining operations can still be seen, and the valley itself has become a popular destination for rock climbing and exploration. It’s a place that combines natural beauty with historical significance.

The discovery of gold in Holcomb Valley led to a mini Gold Rush, attracting prospectors and fortune-seekers from far and wide. The valley’s rich mineral deposits led to the establishment of several mining camps, some of which grew into thriving communities. Over time, the gold reserves dwindled, and the mining operations ceased, but the valley’s historical legacy remains preserved.

Today, visitors can explore the old mining sites, and learn about the mining techniques. And for those who dare, can even try their hand at gold panning, making it a living museum of Big Bear’s golden heritage.

Secret Nature Spots

Wildhorse Meadows

Wildhorse Meadows is a peaceful retreat where you can observe wildlife and enjoy a quiet picnic. It’s a hidden oasis that offers tranquility and natural beauty. The meadows are home to a variety of bird species, and the gentle trails provide opportunities for leisurely walks and relaxation. It’s a place that preserves the natural heritage of Big Bear Lake.

Wildhorse Meadows has been a cherished spot for generations. Its name comes from the wild horses that once roamed the area. The meadows have been preserved as a natural habitat, providing a sanctuary for wildlife and a place for visitors to connect with nature. The history of the meadows is intertwined with the local ecology, making it a significant part of Big Bear’s environmental heritage.

The meadows’ lush landscape and diverse flora and fauna have made it a vital ecosystem within the region. Efforts have been made to protect and conserve the area, ensuring that future generations can enjoy its natural beauty. Local schools and environmental groups often visit Wildhorse Meadows for educational programs, learning about conservation, ecology, and the importance of preserving natural habitats. The meadows stand as a symbol of Big Bear’s commitment to environmental stewardship and a testament to the community’s love for nature.

Polique Canyon

Polique Canyon is a secluded spot for hiking and bird-watching. The trail offers beautiful views and a chance to connect with nature away from the crowds. The canyon’s diverse ecosystem provides a habitat for various plant and animal species, making it a great place for nature enthusiasts. The trail’s moderate difficulty makes it accessible to hikers of all levels, and the views from the top are truly rewarding.

Polique Canyon has a rich history dating back to the Native American tribes that once inhabited the area. The canyon’s unique geological features have made it a significant site for archaeological studies, revealing insights into the region’s prehistoric past. The trail itself is named after a Native American word, reflecting the cultural heritage of Big Bear Lake. It’s a place that tells the story of Big Bear Lake’s diverse cultural heritage and offers a connection to the land’s ancient roots.

Archaeological excavations in the canyon have uncovered artifacts and evidence of ancient settlements, providing a window into the lives of the indigenous people who called the area home. The canyon’s natural features, such as rock formations and water sources, played a vital role in the daily lives of the tribes, and their legacy can still be felt along the trail.

Polique Canyon is not just a scenic hiking destination; it’s a living history lesson that connects visitors with the rich tapestry of cultures that have shaped Big Bear Lake’s identity.

Explore More Hidden Treasures

Big Bear Lake’s hidden gems offer unique experiences and a chance to explore the lesser-known aspects of this beautiful destination. From secret hiking trails to unique dining experiences, these attractions provide a fresh perspective and a more personalized experience. So next time you visit Big Bear Lake, venture off the beaten path and discover the hidden treasures that await. Your adventure is just a trail away.

Explore the Beauty of Wildhorse Springs

Wildhorse Springs is another hidden gem that offers a serene escape. This natural spring is surrounded by lush vegetation and provides a perfect spot for a refreshing dip. The springs are a testament to Big Bear’s diverse natural landscape and offer a unique experience that’s both invigorating and relaxing.

Wildhorse Springs has been a part of Big Bear’s natural landscape for centuries and have been used by Native American tribes for their healing properties. They are fed by underground aquifers, and the water’s mineral content is believed to have therapeutic benefits. It’s a place that connects the present with the past and offers a natural retreat that’s both historical and rejuvenating.

Experience the Charm of Baldwin Lake Stables

Baldwin Lake Stables offers a unique way to explore Big Bear’s scenic landscapes. Whether you’re an experienced rider or a beginner, the guided horseback tours provide a memorable experience. The stables are located near the picturesque Baldwin Lake, and the trails offer stunning views of the mountains and meadows.

Baldwin Lake Stables has been a part of Big Bear’s community for decades, offering horseback riding experiences that connect visitors with the area’s natural beauty. The stables are named after the nearby Baldwin Lake, a seasonal lake that has its own unique ecology. The horseback tours provide a glimpse into the area’s history and offer a unique way to explore Big Bear’s diverse landscapes.

Your Adventure Awaits

Big Bear Lake’s hidden gems are waiting to be explored. From historical trails to unique dining experiences, these lesser-known attractions offer a chance to discover a different side of Big Bear Lake. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a foodie, these hidden treasures provide something special for everyone.

So pack your bags, grab your National Forest Pass, and set out on an adventure that’s uniquely yours. Big Bear Lake’s hidden gems are calling, and a world of discovery awaits.

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