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Fall Day Trip Guide to Big Bear Lake, CA

Updated: Apr 27

Big Bear is a small mountain town in San Bernardino County, California, United States. Situated in the San Bernardino National Forest along the south shore of Big Bear Lake, it is a popular year-round resort destination known for its outdoor recreational activities and scenic beauty. The city is a two- to three-hour drive from San Diego, making it a convenient day trip or a weekend getaway. In this post, I’ll share my fall day trip guide to Big Bear!



When to Visit:

You can plan a visit to Big Bear any time of the year. Many people in San Diego visit during the winter months for skiing and snowboarding. The fall season is a popular time to visit for cooler weather and foliage viewing.


Where to Stay:

If you plan to turn your day trip into a weekend getaway, there are many places to stay in Big Bear, from Airbnb to cabins.


Tips:

On the way to Big Bear, there are several turnouts to stop along the road with gorgeous views of the San Bernadino National Forest.


San Bernadino National Forest

Day Trip Guide


I started my morning with a hike at one of Big Bear’s most popular hikes, Castle Rock Trail. Castle Rock is about 2.4 miles round trip and is rated as intermediate/difficult.

The hike has nice views of the lake and during the fall it’s a great place for fall foliage viewing. The hike is not well marked and it can be a little challenging to stay on the path. I recommend downloading the Alltrails app or asking other people along the trail to assist you, so you don't get lost. For additional trails to choose from visit Bigbear.com






​Foliage along the Castle Rock Trail


After the hike, I headed over to Tropicali a Hawaiian-inspired restaurant. I had their Tikijuana, which is a teriyaki BBQ chicken bowl. It tasted fresh and had a good flavor. I’m looking forward to trying more restaurants in Big Bear the next time I visit.


After lunch take a short walk to the village and explore the shops.





For additional activities in Big Bear consider:

  • Renting bikes and biking along one of the many scenic bike routes.

  • Kayak across Big Bear Lake

  • Go on a Segway Tour



I’m looking forward to my next day trip to Big Bear, exploring more and hiking new trails. I hope this post is helpful as you plan your day trip to Big Bear!


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