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Cougar Crest Trail is a 8.5 kilometer heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Big Bear City, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 8.5 km Elevation gain 274 m Route type Out & Back
Dogs on leash Backpacking Hiking Nature trips Snowshoeing Walking Bird watching Running Forest Views Wild flowers Wildlife Blowdown Muddy Rocky Snow
Description
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Contact
Getting There

NOTE: On site parking requires an Adventure Trail pass.

California Travel and Tourism Commision, P.O. Box 1499 , Sacramento, CA, 95812-1499, Phone: 800-862-2543

Directions from Big Bear Lake, CA: From the Discovery Center on the northeast shore of Big Bear Lake the trailhead is located 0.6-mile to the west on Highway 38. Or you can park for free until 6 PM at the Discovery Center and walk the 0.6-mile west on Highway 38 to the Cougar Crest Trail.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1060)
Photos (1298)
Recordings (983)
Completed (2328)
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Mike McAndrew
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Hiking

Just under two hours with great conditions. Tee shirt weather at 1:30pm. Not too busy and plenty of parking on the street.

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Tim Lee
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Hiking
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Tyson Hubley
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Hiking

Great hike. Not too steep. Not too flat. A mellow jaunt to some spectacular views.

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Jacque Crossley
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HikingGreat!

Gentle but steady climb all the way to the top. Some snow on the trail but nothing proper hiking boots can’t handle. Wouldn’t have made it all the way in trainers/tennis shoes. Me & spouse are both mid to late 50’s and found it very doable even tho the Visitor Center said it was the hardest on the list they gave us. Views amazing and lots of places to stop, sit and enjoy. Made it to where it met up with the PCT! Hooray!

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Ayça Olgun
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 18, 2020
Nature tripsGreat!IcyMuddyRockySnow

Trail is decently kept for the season, though it is pretty muddy with slush, snow and ice in many places. We used hiking poles but were wearing sneakers. Shoes that are for hiking thru snow and ice would be recommended. The trail itself is beautiful though, with gorgeous flora & views thoughout the hike. We weren’t able to reach the top because the last 500 ft were pure ice & snow with narrow footing on the side of a steep hill. Great hike overall!

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Linda Zupan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 17, 2020
Hiking

Nice hike but some spots with ice. We did not go all the way due to narrow steep icy section at about 2.3 mile point. Need those clampons!

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Gilberto Duarte
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Hiking

Good views Good hike

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Noel Macias
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Hiking
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Ryan Marsico
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Backpacking

fun out and back. lots of snow in Nov. lots of pups too!

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Jam Gascon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
HikingGreat!IcyMuddySnow

It was a nice and fun hike ~ there was a mild amount of snow but it sure made it more fun for me :)

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Adam Louter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2020
Hiking

Great trail. Easy-moderate at best. Patches of snow and dirt. The pup loved it!

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James, Leslie & Keely Fletcher
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Hiking

It was amazing in the snow

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Jennifer Pendleton
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 11, 2020
Hiking

A little snowy on the trail but they did a good job of plowing the path! For parking, I wish we had known we needed an Adventure Pass to park next to the trailhead ($5 at a convenience store). Also the first vista viewpoint with the bench was definitely the best view of the hike so if you don’t want to do the whole 5.6ish miles, that’s a good turnaround point!

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Tommy Shao
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Hiking
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Morgan Quant
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Hiking
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Ann Laurence
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Hiking

This was a lovely hike ! Dogs and kids were able to do this pretty easily. Fantastic views but at times rocky so have good shoes. I saw people running up it which would be challenging!

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Lee Gibes
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Hiking

Definitely fun! Long hike.

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chad Hicks
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Hiking
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Adele Rom
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Cougar crest trail was a great trail. Well maintained and pretty panoramic views of big bear lake at the top. I recommend to keep going at the top and connect to the PCT for a longer hike. Trail is pretty rocky all the way so watch your ankles.

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Kevin Etienne
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Hiking
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Cris Hazzard
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Hiking

Leave at sunrise (or before) to really enjoy the beauty here without the crowds. And if you do Cougar Crest, it's worth the short extra effort to head down the PCT and hit Bertha Peak as well. Check out the video and full guide on HikingGuy com

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Trisha MacQueen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2020
HikingRocky

Beautiful hike. Well maintained trail. It was nice in the morning. Quite busy when we were headed down.

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