12 trails and adventures.
12 mile radius from Big Bear.
These trails beckon…
This annual challenge is our own little effort at giving you one more good reason to get outside, in a fun and supported manner. We’ve got 12 of the best trails and adventures in Big Bear, hand picked for you, with maps, directions, and pictures ready to aid in the endeavor. Some of these are amazing singletrack hiking trails, while others are remote and challenging 4×4 trails. To balance things out, we’ve also got some solid loops just perfect for an all day mountain bike ride.
We start by addressing this question: What is the boundary for “Big Bear” trails? If you live up here you’ve driven past Division Drive many times; it’s where Big Bear Lake ends and Big Bear City begins. This is a perfect place to mark as the “center” of Big Bear. From here we grab a map and start drawing a line, 12 miles long as the crow flies. Make this line a radius, and we’ve created a circle. A circle that can hold all of our trails, travels, and easily reached local adventures.
Guidelines and Questions:
What’s the purpose of 12 Trails? Big Bear is truly unique amongst mountain towns. We’re close to a lot of people, we’ve got great weather, and we’ve got absolutely amazing diversity in our ecosystems. We’re truly surrounded by the national forest, which lets us get outside quickly and easily. And…there are a TON of trails and adventures to be had up here. Our goal is to showcase these adventures, 12 at a time, and get you out there. Maybe on trails you’ve already seen. Probably on trails you’ve heard of, but just haven’t had a reason to get there…yet. We’ll also show you trails and adventures you didn’t know existed. It’s a big, beautiful forest that can keep you busy, inspired, and loving nature for a long time.
What are the rules? Get out on all of the 12 Trails. If you like, you can break it up and do part of a trail one day another part a different day. Complete the list within 12 months. Only use non-motorized means to see these trails. That means you can drive to a trailhead, but you’ve got to hike, run, backpack, bike, or ride a horse on the trails and loops themselves. Finally, don’t ride bikes where you aren’t permitted to; this means the PCT and any areas within the San Gorgonio Wilderness.
What is the cost? We would really like it if you spent $25 and purchased a 12 Trails T-Shirt. It’s got a nice logo on the front and an actual tick list of the trails on the back. Visit a trail, take a black permanent marker and check it off. Tell the world you’re getting out there and encourage them to do the same. $25 will also get you a year-long membership in the Trails Foundation, which tells you, deep inside, that you’re making a small but important contribution to our system of trails here in Big Bear. We use these funds to develop new trails, maintain current trails, and promote trail use. It’s an important cause, and we appreciate your support.
What support do you offer? Each of the 12 Trails has it’s own page on this website. There are directions, maps, and pictures. We’ve got a rating system so you can let others know what you think of each trail. There are links to other sources and web pages that will help you explore the trails before and after your adventure. We encourage you to make comment on each trail’s webpage, and share your thoughts, suggestions, trail variations, pictures, and more. While we don’t offer guided hikes of these trails, we will work with anyone who is willing and help facilitate group hikes and get the word out. We do have a Calendar of Events on this website, and can easily take your planned excursion and post it for all to see and join.
What if I’ve already been on that trail? Have you been out there this year? If not, go do it again. Find a way to make it fresh…do it on foot this time (or bike, or horseback). Take someone new out there and be a tour guide. Travel the trail in a different season. Don’t think that once you’ve traveled a trail you’re finished; nature has always got something new to show you.
How did you choose these trails? Our goal is to get folks outside on adventures worthy of hikers, bikers, and equestrians. With this in mind, we poured over maps, guidebooks, websites, and personal recommendations to get a list of adventures. There were no “off trail” or “non-system trails” allowed in the mix. In the end, we had a spreadsheet of trails broken down into four categories: 1)singletrack trails, 2)sections of the Pacific Crest Trail, 3)4×4 Adopt A Trails, and 4)forest service road bike loops. Certainly, you can argue that #3 and #4 are not true “trails”. However, the sheer experience given by seeing these awesome areas first hand, with no motor powering you, completely supports both the mission of 12 Trails and that of the Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation. Finally, we decided how many of each of the above categories were needed each year to spread things out, both geographically and in adventure diversity. There are enough trails in Big Bear for minimum of 3 whole years of quality 12 Trails.