Big Bear City Airport host a one day air show in the mountains of SoCal. The hot rodders like to show up too. This event is not running every year, so make sure to check their web site for the latest info and dates.
On the eastern mountain slopes of Big Bear Lake, Holcomb Creek creates a forested sage valley – called Holcomb Valley, located only a few miles away from the big lake. A graded dirt road leads out to this pine forest & a prime campground area. Perfect location for picnics and sightseeing.
Although the developed campground is open all year long, please take into consideration that SNOW and mud is the norm for winter months.
Nice shady sites to beat the summer heat. Camp spots spaced out fairly well. Hikers parking lot is located at one end of the campground. Bears are well known in the region, so please lock all food in the provided metal bear lockers.
The epic Pacific Crest Trail runs right through the Holcomb Valley. Doble Trail Camp is out this way for PCT parking, next to Holcomb Valley Road #3N16 which encircles this whole forested area inside San Bernardino National Forest.
Holcomb Valley has a historic cabin to see. Numerous old mines exist around this area. Nearby Gold Mountain is a popular 4WD route.
The dirt back road leads east down to the high desert @ Highway 162. Down to Pioneertown and Yucca Valley, and eventually Joshua Tree National Park.
San Bernardino National Forest: Heart Bar Campground
At Hwy 38 & Forest Road #1N02 is a huge, pine forested valley, right next to San Gorgonio Wilderness. Heartbar Campground, Heart Bar Horse Camps, RV Dispersed Sites. Highway 38 – SE of Big Bear Lake, California; Mountain Bike, Hiking & Equestrian Trails with ridges of 10,000′ elevation. SAN GORGONIO peak nearby. Best high elevation scenery for SoCal by far.
Heart Bar Campground
Big Bear Forest – HEART BAR
This gorgeous valley is a developed recreation area w/ 89 camp sites, plus big equestrian area. Picnic, hiking, mountain biking, horseback trails, plenty RV spots, even a creek. (Oooops I meant the Santa Ana River) Highway 38 is kinda the long way into Big Bear Lake, up thru Angelus Oaks. Locals call this stretch of the highway Barton Flats.
Bring the Horses & RVs
Group Campground facilities
Barton Flats – San Gorgonio Recreation Area
Leading out the back way of HeartBar, past the horse camp – is a nice one lane dirt road, narrow in spots, with random, primitive camp sites along the roadway. Authorities refer to these spots as yellow post camp sites.
This backcountry route is marked as Forest Service Rd #1N02 – graded dirt road that leads back to Coon Creek Cabin.
Forest Falls is well worth a stop for a quick picnic or hike – and head dunk. Weekends can be busy and crowded. Since this location is close to Southern California and the population centers, expect weekends to be busy in the Big Bear mountains. Plan a trip for week days to experience less people, and more nature.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA MTS:
Big Bear Area Camping; Crabflats is on dirt road – Road# 3N16
North of Green Valley Lake, off Hwy 18. Between Big Bear Lake & Lake Arrowhead, California.
OHV trails abundant in this region, so expect some 4x4s, dirt bikes and engine noise. Looking for peaceful camp, try Heart Bar Camp.
Crab Flats Campground
• Elevation: 6,200′
• Number of Sites: 28
• Camping Reservations: Yes
• Sites Available: 3 first come
• Vehicle Accessibility: RV 15′ max
• Length of Stay: 14 Days
• Water: No Piped; seasonal creek iffy
• Toilet: Vault
• Season: Open APR-NOV
• Fee: Yes
• Operated By: National Forest Service
• Closest Town: Lake Arrowhead, CA
San Bernardino National Forest
Big Bear Discovery Center
Big Bear Lake, CA
Southern California /San Gorgonio Wilderness Area / San Gorgonio Mountain Peak Hikes / Backpack Gorgonio
The tallest mountain peak in Southern California towers over the often smoggy basin of the Inland Empire, Riverside & San Bernardino. Coachella Valley lies to the southeast. Joshua Tree National Park lies due east.
Old Greyback is a fitting nickname for the peak. The massive, bald, decomposed granite gravel paves the whole top layer, above treeline (altitude nearing 12,000 feet above sea level) and this impressive peak can be seen from most of the Los Angeles basin and the Palm Springs desert. The expanding view of the Pacific Ocean can be seen 70 miles to the west, but only if the skies are clear. Windy, winter days are excellent conditions for viewing, but plan your hike accordingly as this peak could be covered in deep snow during winter or springtime.
This is a very popular backpacking weekend trip to escape from the big urban populations. San Diegans and Angelinos can easily access this location in a few hours from home, via Interstate 10 and some mountain driving on a 2 lane highway.
Several hot spring pools line this desert canyon on the SW side of Deep Creek. There are smaller hot tubs, as well a large warm tub that is big enough to swim in. The vegetation around the springs and main creek is fairly lush for this desert terrain. A variety of trees, including willows, plus small meadows and grasslands add to the visual balance of this land. Deep Creek is one of the popular Southern California hot springs due to its proximity to the big, urban areas.
East of Lake Arrowhead; South West of I-15 @ Hesperia & Victorville
option A: Bowen Ranch, 2 mile hike
Bowen Ranch parking area, pay a fee to the crazy man and have the shortest hike to springs. The word ‘ranch” is used to describe a small shack with some junker cars. No entry after 10PM and the man at this private property is not a friendly ranger, nor is he a pleasant person to deal with (which is why we list 2 other parking options).
Interstate 15, exit Bear Valley in Victorville. Go East on Bear Valley 10 miles to Central. Turn right on Central. Just beyond the top of the hill turn left on Ocotillo, which becomes a dirt road. Turn right on Bowen Ranch Road and continue until you get to Bowen Ranch. National Forest Trail #3W02 the Goat Trail (aka Bowen trail) is 2 miles, the steepest and shortest route into the desert creek canyon.
option B: PCT Trail Route, 6 mile hike
Interstate 15, exit Hesperia & take Main St. @ Y veer left- Rock Springs Rd., right on Deep Creek Road and follow it up to Mojave River at the Saddle Dike Embankment. Park near the dam; Look for Pacific Crest Trail sign for hike up canyon to the hot springs.
option C: Bradford Ridge, 3 mile hike
Lake Arrowhead hike-in way via the Bradford Ridge Path. Take Highway 173 East, which becomes a wide graded dirt road heading toward the desert. From the shooting (rifle) range where the pavement ends, clock your trip meter on your vehicle 3 miles further down the road. Park at small pull out on the left side. Near the sign that says ‘Narrow Bridge’, where a gated old fire is directly across. Trail head was not marked. If you are into hiking, this option is for you. Narrow sandy ridge trails, single track. Bring flashlights for a successful hike out at night.