Big Bear Lake's forests, mountains, water and weather make an engaging three-day spring escape. When the final vestiges of winter's white melts, the area's second season begins. Skis and snowboards go on the rafters and bikes and boots come down. As the leaves return, hiking and biking trails open and the lake itself becomes a recreational hub.
Day One: On the water. With 23 miles of attractive shoreline, Big Bear Lake beckons visitors to rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboat and explore at their own pace. By the hour, half-day, or day, flexible rental arrangements allow you to explore where you want, when you want.
If you prefer to experience the lake at a more rapid pace, water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing and windsurfing are other attractive options. The fish are out there, too. From numerous shoreline spots or atop a boat, you can cast for plentiful, bass, trout, catfish and blue gill. Several full service marinas will meet your bait, tackle, and licensing needs. Fishing boats are available and charters can be arranged. Several public boat launches are available if you float your own boat.
Day two: On the land. An extensive trail system surrounding Big Bear Lake entices mountain bikers. From the paved Alpine Pedal Path along the north shore of the lake to the steep stretches of the John Bull Loop, trails ranging from very easy to quite challenging offer fresh air exercise and spectacular scenery.
Walkers and hikers easily understand why Orange County Register readers recently voted the Big Bear area the "Best Hiking in Southern California." From an easy 6/10 mile path to a difficult 10-mile loop, local trails are diverse and inspiring.
If you want to enjoy with exerting, there are a trio of means to see the lake, valley, and surrounding mountains while another provides the locomotion. Jeep tours, four-wheel excursions, and horseback riding offer exciting jaunts into the high altitude wonderland.
Day three: The town. Browsing or buying, local shops look and feel like they belong in the alpine environment they are. Unique souvenirs, fine-art and mountain apparel can all be found with coffee shops, pubs, and a broad range of dining options in between. The Big Bear Museum opens in late May. Here, tales from legendary trappers, miners, ranchers, and lumberjacks colorize the history of the area from the 1885 gold rush through the 21st Century.
» Also view Winter, Summer and Autumn's Travel Planners.