Hit the happy trails

By: Shannon Brooks
Big Bear Lake spring hiking
Photo by Visit Big Bear.

The hiking trails are definitely for the dogs in Big Bear Lake! With 100 miles of trails, you can choose your adventure based on location, degree of difficulty and preferred terrain—think pine scented forests, high desert vistas and majestic meadows. And thanks to the sheer vastness of the trail network, the opportunities to find peace and solitude with your furry best friends are endless.

If you’ve got kids in tow or simply want a mellower trek, Woodland Trail offers a gentle 1.5-mile loop with views of Southern California’s highest peak, Mount San Gorgonio. Another easy loop, the 2.5-mile Towne Trail starts at Snow Summit and winds through the south shore woodlands delivering lake views all along the way.

For a more invigorating, challenge with greater elevation gain, tackle the 7-mile Cougar Crest Trail to Bertha Peak. The sweeping views at the top will surely knock your socks off! 

Castle Rock Trail off Highway 18 is popular with experienced hikers for good reason—while only 2.5-miles, the difficult trail weaves through granite outcroppings and densely wooded terrain leading up to the namesake Castle Rock.

Note that an Adventure Pass is required for parking at any trailhead or recreation area operated by the U.S. Forest Service; you can purchase a day pass at the Big Bear Visitors Center.

Safety tip: Bring plenty of water and keep your dog on a leash at all times to protect them from wildlife. In warmer summer months, be sure they avoid sniffing around holes or areas where rattlesnakes might be cooling off.


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