Winter Activities in Southern California: Big Bear

Bobby Dyer

Winter Activities in Southern California: Big Bear

Big Bear, the closest winter resort to Los Angeles and San Diego, has thousands of things to do in those few months that you’re craving some fresh powder, massive pine trees, or cozy fires.


The Pacific Crest Trail runs directly through Big Bear and goes for literally thousands of km. If you’re looking for a smaller adventure, check out Castle Rock Trail. 4km roundtrip this hike is moderate and peaks at Castle Rock, with spectacular views of the lake and surrounding snow-covered mountains.

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For the science lovers, hop on the Woodland Trail. 2.5 km roundtrip. Its a unique nature trail with 20 posted stops. Grab a pamphlet and rock out this self-guided tour, learning botany, geology, and wildlife in the area.


Not only is there a snowshoe 10k race in February, but Big Bear has some of the best, most intricate trails in all of southern California. Snowshoe and cross-countryyour way through hundred of km of trails, located on and off the winter resort, you have endless opportunities to experience the closest resort to LA and San Diego


Does the name Shawn White mean anything to you? Bear Mountain Resort is frequented by White some winters due to its amazingly close location to the two largest populated cities in California. The resort has SoCal’s only superpipe. The resort was named #3 park in the country TWICE! from TransWorld’s 2014 and 2012 Resort Poll. Its got over 500m vertical drop, and 303 skiable ha. Can’t ride during the day? No problem…Snow Summit, right next door has lights on until 930pm!

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If snowsports isn’t your thing, swing by Magic Mountain for an Alpine Slide, Snowtubing hill, and located in the village is an indoor ice rink!

Helicopter Tour

The San Bernadino Mountains can only truly be appreciated with an aerial view like no others! The views feature scenic countryside, landmarks, real estate, snowfall and magical views of the horizon. The best company to ride with is Helicopter Big Bear!


The Bowling Barn is a mecca for entertainment. Stay warm with glow bowling, big screen sporting events, bars, restaurants and of course, 16 lanes of smashing a heavy ball into some wimpy pins!

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Possibly the most important section of this blog, the entertainment! Where to drink? Where to dance? Where to sing? A perfect night out for me would start at the Big Bear Mountain Brewery. Grab a quart of their locally brewed Red Ant Hill Amber and read the ridiculous messages written on dollar bills posted all throughout the brewery.

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After a cold one at the brewery, head to Chad’s Place. If its Friday or Saturday night you’re in luck with some live music! If you’re there during the week don’t fret, they have line dancing on Tuesdays, free pool on Wednesdays and open mic on Thursdays! From there, grab a taxi down the road for the infamous Murray’s Saloon. This dive bar turned karaoke haven has strong cheap drinks, karaoke 7 nights a week (Yes you read that correctly…SEVEN nights a week) and a pool table for those that aren’t entertained by the drunken ballads or fresh lobster claw-machine (you catch it they cook it…free!)

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If you REALLY want another bar after these amazing spots, head to “Nightclub”. Known as AV to the locals, this is exactly what it sounds like…a great place to dance the night away to a rocking DJ. Cut the rug til 2 then hit the sac!


The Village a great spot to get that last minute Christmas gift or antique for your loved one. Lining the sidewalks are quaint benches, fireplaces and sweet smelling pines. Literally hundreds of stores selling authentic Native American trinkets, Goldmine-era antiques, delicious treats and of course great drinks. Head to Peppercorn Grille for a delicious meal and wash it all down at Whiskey Dave’s with some rocking music and cheap drinks!



My personal favorite activity is this soaring adventure. Open year-round, but best with the winter winds whipping at your rosy cheeks, Action Zipline Tours delivers the best entertainment off the snow. Its a rush that will live in your memory banks forever. Fly solo or with friends!



-Danger Dave

Cofounder of ITH Hostels. I love traveling, hosting, gardening, golfing, fishing, and sailing.