Nestled in the San Bernardino National Forest is the small town of Big Bear Lake, California, a tranquil retreat for outdoorsy Californians.
Before this mountain town was known as Big Bear, natives referred it to as Yuhaviat — an indigenous word meaning Pine Place. But when ranchers discovered the area in the mid-18th century, they found it inhabited by at least a dozen grizzly bears. According to the Big Bear Visitors Bureau, Big Bear became a gold mining boomtown, though today it’s best known for its ski resorts and lake activities.
The Moonridge Ski Area, known today as Big Bear Mountain Resort, opened for business in 1959. It has since evolved into a dynamic and innovative destination for active recreation. Visitors even flock here during the summer, long after the snow has gone.
Big Bear makes a broader appeal to younger crowds, while the sister mountain, Snow Summit, has a more family-friendly vibe. But while its reputation might be staked in its snowy slopes, Big Bear isn’t just for snow bunnies.
Travelers will find endless opportunities for exploring this mountain resort, the adjacent lake, and town. This is a four-season destination, with ample opportunities for enjoying the lake, the slopes, and the surrounding pine forest no matter what time of year you visit.