And we thought we were unprepared for the snowy conditions, this guy was REALLY unprepared. I have a bike alot like this one and it was funny to see it caked with snow, I never even imagined mine looking like this.
I'm assuming the guy found a ride.
The natural beauty of these mountains is really remarkable. At an altitude of over 7,000 feet you get all these gorgeous evergreen trees covering the hillsides, and then there's the lake itself with it's deep blue waters. Plus there are these huge boulders strewn all across the landscape. They would be fun to scramble over in summer, or just catch snow in the winter.
No need to limit yourself to the two or three main streets, most of the small side streets link together as well. We managed to incorporate them into our stroll and came across this little scene. Note the VW bus, looking a little out of place but holding her ground.
If you like horses, be sure to look into horseback riding while you're in Big Bear. Baldwin Lake Stables offers horseback riding year-round. The rides range in length from 1 hour to a 1/2 day trip. There are a number of different trails, many of which have great views of the Big Bear area. Baldwin Lake Stables also has a petting zoo, where children can pet llamas, goats and pigs. There are hand-led pony rides for the little ones as well.
In the village, you can pick up fliers for the stables. They have coupons that will give you $5 off several of the horseback rides Baldwin Lake Stables offers.
Skiing is the most popular winter activity in Big Bear. While the slopes here are not as challenging as other California locations (Mammoth has some better trails), this is a great place to learn, to ski with children, to snowboard or just to enjoy a leisurely ski day. You should know that the slopes can get crowded-- you will want to come early or even on a weekday if you want more space.
There are several places to ski in Big Bear. I recommend Snow Summit, a centrally located ski area with runs for skiiers of all skill levels and cozy restaurants and lounges for relaxing. Another great ski location is Bear Mountain. Either one of these places is a great choice if you want to ski in Big Bear.
The Castle Rock hike is my favorite and provides climbers with probably the most beautiful view of Big Bear. The trailhead is located on the highway between Boulder Bay and the Dam. You'll just have to look for the small sign on the right (south) side of the road. Park on the shoulder of the road and start walking!
The hike is about a mile and at times it can be a little steep. You'll want to take along water and stop and take breaks if you get winded. However, this is generally considered to be an easy climb for those of all ages. There is a stream that makes this hike even more beautiful-- look for it as you head up the hill. At the top of the trail you'll see Castle Rock, a large rock formation. Climbing it can be a little tricky, but it's worth the effort. Try going around the back side of the rock to start up. From the top of the rock, you'll have the most amazing view of Big Bear and the lake.
The Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain in Big Bear is a ton of fun. In the winter, you slide down it on individually controlled sleds. In the summer, it's a water slide. Either way, it's great entertainment and you'll want to do it more than once. The slide consists of two quarter-mile long cement tracks filled with high-banked turns and long straightaways. A single ride on the Alpine Slide is $4. An unlimited pass on the waterslide is $12.
Magic Mountain also offers go-karts and a minature golfcourse. In the winter, children can intertube down snowy hills.
Right in the heart of Big Bear Village is a wonderful old arcade, entertaining for adults and children alike. This place is old and the games are too, but if you like vintage games (Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Galaga) then you'll love this arcade. They also have pinball and skee ball. Collect enough tickets and you can redeem them for stuffed animals and other trinkets. There are some newer games here, including the popular dance machine. If you're in the village, stop in here for a few games!
Growing up, I used to go back in the woods with my father to look for gold. Most of the time we dug up dirt from rivers, but occasionally we would go into some of the old mines left over from miners in the 19th century (at least the ones that were deemed stable by the government).
Big Bear is riddled with old mines and decaying log cabins dating back to the late 1800's during the days of the American gold rush. Whole towns used to exist our in the middle of the forest with big mining operations nearby bringing in a steady cash flow. But, as must happen with all civilizations great and small, time took it's toll and the memories, the thoughts of all those who worked and lived, loved and hurt, faded away to nothing more than the dead remains of log cabins, a couple charred fireplaces, a small museum, and a few legends & tall tales of betrayal and deceit...and of hidden stashes of gold buried and never returned for.
The museum is a collection of all the artifacts left over from that era. There are a many photos of the people, the actual objects they used in daily life, and even an intact log cabin that has some of the furniture still in it. A bed, a baby cradle, a kitchen...all roughly hewn from hunks of old wood long ago. It's an interesting place, but never seems to be open. It only opens it's doors to visitors in the summertime, and then only for 5 or so hours a day.
The discovery center was fun (kind of scary too) for the kids, showing real live animals (dead of course), bears, mountain lions, birds...Free entrance! It has also lots of outdoor activities educational and informational portal to the San Bernardino National Forest, but we didn't get to do that because of the rain.
Snow has a way of sneaking up on you. It falls so gracefully sometimes, you don't realize how fast it's piling up. In the morning we had 6 inches of beautiful, fluffy powder. I'm sure the ski and snowboard crowd were happy.
For the most part I was too busy throwing to get pictures, but did manage one or two. Here Tony has Marisa on the run, and well she oughta be considering Tony's snowball is about the size of a basketball. Run Marisa, run!
If your up during the Summer and out on the 22 miles of Shoreline that surrounds Big Bear lake, and happen to be looking for a place to go Swimming and Rock Jumping, Head straight west when your on the Lake.
Keep going West towards the Dam and you will see China Island (the only island on the lake)
There is a cove that surrounds the island and on the West side there is a rock formation sticking out approx. 40 feet high (depending on water level)
If your into jumping, there are several places at different locations and different heights that are safe. If your not sure, just ask, there is usually several people out there during the day.
The BEST Jump (in my opinion) is to climb to the Very Top of the Biggest Rock and face east (right towards China Island about 30' away) When jumping from here if the water conditions/levels are just right, there "IS" a Big Rock Below on the right side. DON"T JUMP TO THE RIGHT, stay left and close in when you jump and you'll be just fine.
Occasionally this is also a Favorite Spot for Boat Party's when the Sun Goes Down (and sometimes when the sun is still up) If you happen on by one, just pull up and tie off to the closest Boat.
It a lot of Fun and Some Memorable Memories to say the least.
Maybe Even See You Out There.
We bought some sleds at the Vons market and hit an old (abandoned) ski run at the top of Pine Knott Drive, nestled in the mountains (take Pine Knott Road and drive toward the mountains, away from the lake).
However, we did notice a few sledding parks that looked like fun if no natural snowfall occured. e encountered a few sledding parks. There is "Snow Valley" near the junctin of route 30 and route 18 (at the turn off for either Big Bear or Arrowhead). You pay to rent large intertubes. This one looks the best if you have small kids. They offer a wider range of sledding slope options, with steps from the bottom to the top of runs. The other sledding park we found was "Magic Mountain" in Big Bear (further down Rte 18). A bit expensive at $22.50 per person (especially with young kids who could not take advantage of the "All day" benefit). This is a fairly steep slope with an automated type lift to the top.
Big Big Lake is a ski resort destination during the winter so what else should you do? Go snowboarding and skiing of course! Bear Mountain is the biggest and most popular resort in the area--go early to avoid the crowds!