Big Bear: July 12-16, 2021


Amelia killing it on Grays Peak Trail on the North Shore of Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear, Mammoth, South Lake Tahoe, Sun Valley, Jackson Hole, Durango, and Steamboat Springs: they are all touristy little mountain towns with the same cast of characters living a fraught and resentful symbiotic relationship. There are locals, the vacation homeowners, and regular tourists.  Go into the grocery store and you can easily lump everyone you see into one of the three groups.  It’s really obvious.

Big Bear is in the San Bernardino Mountains, about three towing hours away from our house. Yes readers not from SoCal, we have mountains. And they are quite rugged and steep.  The San Bernardino and San Gabriel Mountains are the two main ranges in SoCal.

And here is where I admit that this is only the third time I’ve been to Big Bear.  The last two times were in the 70s.  That’s what happens when your younger brother moves to Mammoth in the early 80s.  Mammoth became the focal point.  Mammoth folk, including yours truly, looked down upon and even scoffed at Big Bear.

Now at sixty-one years old, looking back, man, we had a lot of dumb notions.


Or as our friend calls it, Fartin Blats, is where we stayed. It’s actually a really nice National Forest Service campground. The downside is it’s close to the main road, Highway 38, and a long thirty minutes from Big Bear.

Glamour shot and reality. We couldn’t believe how close the dumpsters were. It really wasn’t an issue though since the campground was more empty than full the entire time.



California Primrose: there were a few of these beauties scattered around the campground.


It looks like a forest to me.


The Skyline Trail: a popular South Shore ride. All the trails we hit in the Big Bear area were excellent.


Grinnell’s Beardtongue


This is the upper part of the Santa Ana River Trail (SART). It was accessible from our campground. Some sections were quite sketchy with the trail eroded in the corners with long steep drops. I was by myself without a soul in sight, so I cut the ride short. I like to think I’m getting smarter in my old age.

Blue Sage: an aromatic plant. Once you got a whiff of it there was no doubt it was a sage.



Drought stricken Jenks Lake: this was a nice mile and a half hike from camp.



Free high pressure hot showers, no dogs allowed.



The showers might’ve been free, but they wanted ten bucks to dump! And that’s after paying thirty three dollars a night. Some smart guy invented this contraption. Once you pay your ten bucks you have sixty seconds to open the sewer cap, so you better be ready or it will close on you and you’ll be S.O.L.



Big Bear Lake view from Grays Peak

5 thoughts on “Big Bear: July 12-16, 2021

  1. Be sure to check-out Holcolm Valley and if anyone reading has kids you can grab a map to take you on the gold trail. Hard to believe that area almost became the seat of San Bernadino. So many great trails. We wanted to drive the trail that is Sky High but chickened out because I am terrified of those high mountain single lane roads. Glad you mentioned it so will take that off our to-do list. I really want to do the Big Bear to Joshua Tree 4×4 though. Any takers? Hey is there a way we can see your reply to our comments w/o logging in?

    • Big Bear to Joshua Tree all 4×4??? If anyone can do it, you can Jen-Jen!
      Is the trail in Big Bear called Sky High or Skyline? There was a pretty tame dirt road at the beginning of Skyline. I don’t know how far or where it goes, but probably not what you are talking about.
      I think you can just scroll the bottom of the blog to see a response or other comments.

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