Big Bear Lake via Bear Creek Trail is a 8.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Trinity Center, California that features a lake and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

8.3 miles
2,851 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly






horseback riding

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers



3 months ago

The reviews aren't wrong. This hike is definitely worth it, but man, it is straight uphill. Make sure to bring a lot of water. My buddy and I brought a gallon + two pints between the two of us and nearly ran out by the time we got to the lake. Not an easy hike.

We also got pretty damn close to two black bears on our way back which was a bit scary. All in all certainly worth it though. Gorgeous lake.

A note on fishing: as the hike is pretty strenuous I thought the fishing would be good (thought the difficulty would deter others). It wasn't terrible fishing but it also wasn't better than mediocre. Fish were pretty small and we only got a few bites in four hours on the water. The lake is also super hard to get around which confines you to only a couple fishing spots on one end of the lake.

5 months ago

My wife and I did this hike on 6/11. We are both 57 and found the hike fairly easy. Not the death march that some describe below. 2.5 hours up, about 2 hours back down. Mosquitos not a problem.

5 months ago

Beautiful trail with nice variety of ecosystems. The trail isn't that steep in most segments but the ascent is fairly constant the entire 4.5 miles to Big Bear Lake, though significant segments are only slightly inclined. Nonetheless, the overall experience is strenuous and requires moderate fitness.

The trail from parking lot to lake and back is actually 9.0 (rather than 7.8) miles round-trip. Apparently the parking area was moved some years ago and the AllTrails route is outdated. You get to the trailhead by crossing the creek right by the parking area and then climbing the wide "road" for about 100 yards, then the (signed) trailhead will be on the right.

Mosquitoes were moderate at the top but their prevalence prevented any prolonged stops on the hike up. Bring bug spray. Wasn't hot that day but I still drank lots of water - bring plenty or a good filter.

The Big Bear Lake area itself is fairly rocky and scrubby and does not have many camping locations. On the other hand even in early June I did the entire hike without seeing anyone else. Took me about 2.5 hours up and 2.1 hours down.

Big Bear Lake connects to Little Bear Lake, but I did not hike it given the time of day.

9 months ago

4..0hours to the lake via a a unrelentingly steep trail.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The directions provided by Google Maps are unclear if you want to get to the trail head and not park where you must wade across the Trinity River: From route 3, turn onto Bear Creek Loop and that will get you to the trail head.
The hike is not especially long but it is (mostly) straight up and it gets steeper in the last half mile or so. I did not encounter any accessible (late September) water sources until I was well past the halfway point so bring water (1.5 liters was more than sufficient for me). If the campsites at the north side of the lake are taken, there are several campsites further up and along the south side of the lake but that does take work to get to. Once the sun went down, it was chilly and there was frost everywhere late at night and the early morning.
The hike up is worth it because the lake and the surrounding area is beautiful.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Breathtaking... both physically and emotionally! This is the perfect challenging day hike, you'll work your tushie off on the way up but the reward is so, so sweet . Absolutely beautiful scenery and Big Bear Lake is the perfect temp for a dip to cool off at the end. Definitely recommend morning this time of year, I started at noon and it was pretty darn warm. There are several creeks on the way up if you have a doggo who wants to cool off, but I'd suggest still bringing water for Fido just in case cause he'll be working hard, too! Love this hike, I'll be back!

Saturday, July 08, 2017

Attempted in Feb. Made it to the canyon before Big Bear Lake before the sun went down and the temperature dropped. Snow has 10-15ft deep where we stopped. Snow was hard with 6" of powder. Did not need snowshoes. Also we had to park 2 miles down the road as the road was closed by the highway turnoff.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Big Bear Lake trail was absolutely beautiful. If you are an avid hiker I would consider this trail easy-moderate. If you don't hike frequently, you could consider it more on the hard-challenging side. You will end up climbing a near 3000 ft during this 10 mile hike.

Surprisingly, we saw a gigantic rattle snake at the top of the trail about .5 mi from the lake, so be aware they are still out even at this elevation with snow on the ground. (June 25th)

The views were breathe taking. A jump in the crystal clear lake was very refreshing when we reached the destination. If hiking earlier in the morning (recommended) be prepared to eat some bugs. :p. They don't bite, but they can definitely be an annoyance for the early portion of the trail.

I would most definitely do this trail again, and probably again. The tranquil lake and all it's peaceful surrounding views make for a beautiful hike.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Great hike! Beautiful lake and surrounding granite peaks. Went in June, camped one night and was the only person there. Didn't make it to little or wee bear lakes, had to save for next time.

Monday, September 21, 2015

This hike was wonderful once we reached the gorgeous lake. the hike, while pretty, was honestly one of the hardest hikes I've done. And I'm an in shape 26 year old. With about 36 pounds on my back. Was definitely not easy I would not recommend this if you are out of shape or taking the kids. Lol or a smoker. It is straight up the almost entire time. It plateaus for about a quarter mile then your bushwacking and Creek climbing for another good 800 to 1000 feet. The next day My brother and I also chose to climb the pyramid like granite peak on the west of the lake. It separates little and big bear and was a challenging boulder mt climb but we'll worth the great view. We then side hilled over to the other two lakes and went down to them. We then hiked back to camp at big bear. Then hiked out, so that was a strenuous day. Again this hike is gorgeous and was worth it but it is by no means easy. Canyon Creek was cake compared to this one.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

We took this hike late in the fall & were pleasantly distracted from some of the scenery because of the abundance & variety of mushrooms! The hike was moderately difficult, first through forest, then manzanita, before opening up to granite slopes before reaching the lake. The day we went, there were icy streams flowing. Next time, I want to go find Little & Wee Bear Lakes, too!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Did as a day hike. I would rate as moderate due to distance and elevation gain. Big Bear Lake is one of the most beautiful alpine lakes I have ever been to. the water is crystal clear and there are an abundance of trout in the lake. The hike up is borderline amazing, traveling through old growth groves and across granite. If you can do this hike on a weekday, you may be the only person there. love it

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Did big bear with a 2 night, 4-person backpacking trip. With a heavy pack it is quick a trek up and down the trail with the 3k elevation gain. Took our group 6 hours up over mid-day and three hours down over early morning. The lake is in a beautiful bowl with small adolescent salmon jumping out of the water at night and a pair of owls. Saw some bear sign on the way up but no live bears. There are a couple of good campsites right off the trail and possibly one on the other side of the lake (takes a little bit to get there). All sites filled up by Saturday night in early September so it looks well used. Once your there the hike to wee bear can be fun, technical and difficult. Took 4-hours round trip for one pair in our party. Overall the lake is great but it takes a while to get to. Plan ahead and leave early.

13 days ago

4 months ago

recorded big bear

Saturday, August 19, 2017

recorded big bear

Friday, August 18, 2017

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Sunday, July 10, 2016