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Big Bear Lake Adventures

Wilderness Safaris, in and around Big Bear Lake

COUGAR CREST TRAIL

BLT
Butchers Block
Nottinghams Tavern
Old Country Inn

About 2 Miles

Difficulty Level – Moderate to Difficult

The Cougar Crest trailhead.

The Cougar Crest trail head. Be sure to take water and a camera. © Rick Keppler

The Cougar Crest trail head is located about 1,000 yards west of the Discovery Center on the north side of Big Bear Lake. This trail will take you up into the mountains along the north side of the lake. Before you begin any hike into the Big Bear wilderness, make sure you let someone know where you are going, and bring plenty of water. There are very few problems that can’t be dealt with in the wilderness as long as your well stay hydrated.

Standing guard over the Cougar Crest trail. © Rick Keppler

Standing guard over the Cougar Crest trail. © Rick Keppler

The Cougar Crest trail begins with an easy walk up a narrow canyon. After about four minutes the trail gets increasingly steep. Ten to twelve minutes into your hike you will reach the top of the first ridge,. Stop and catch your breath before you continue.

Over the next twenty to thirty minutes that trail continues upward in a westerly direction. This trail seems to always have an abundance of wildlife, so keep your eyes open. Early in the morning it is not uncommon to see deer, coyote, raccoons and other assorted critters making their way back into the hills after drinking from Big Bear Lake at night. The Cougar Crest trail is on fairly rocky terrain, so be sure to keep an eye out for rattle snakes. If you see a snake don’t panic, just “share the trail” and give them plenty of room.

The real payoff comes when you finally get to the top of the ridge. The views from here are spectacular. As you look south across the lake, Big Bear Village, the ski slopes, and even San Gorgonio are laid out in a magnificent vista. You can see all of Big Bear Lake from the dam to Big Bear City. Photos of the village from this vantage point look as if they were taken from an aircraft. A late afternoon hike can often provide spectacular sunsets. I hope you brought your camera. Your definitely going to want to share these scenic views with your friends.

Turn around and look north, you can see down onto one of the U.S. Forest Service roads that lead into Holcomb Valley. This ridge is also where the Cougar Crest trail connects with the famous Pacific Crest Trail, as it passes through Big Bear on it’s 2,600 mile journey from Mexico to Canada.

The hike up to this ridge may have been moderately steep, but the good news is that once you are finished taking pictures and enjoying the views, the return trip is all down hill.

So Enjoy.

HERE ARE A FEW MORE IMAGES OF WHAT TO EXPECT ON THE COUGAR CREST TRAIL.

The Cougar Crest trail with Big Bear Lake in the background.

The Cougar Crest trail with Big Bear Lake and Snow Summit in the background. © Rick Keppler

A view of Big Bear Lake, looking west towards the dam.

A view of Big Bear Lake, looking west towards the dam. © Rick Keppler

A close up view of Big Bear Village looking across the lake from the top of the Cougar Crest trail.

What Big Bear Village looks like through binoculars from across the lake at the top of the Cougar Crest trail. © Rick Keppler

Early morning photo of Big Bear Lake with clouds nestled down by the dam.  Notice the crane being used in the construction of the new bridge at the dam. - Photo by Kaela Fengler Sept. 2010

Early morning photo of Big Bear Lake with clouds nestled down by the dam. Notice the crane being used in the construction of the new bridge at the dam. - Photo by Kaela Fengler Sept. 2010

This little guy didn't mind sharing the trail, but he was keeping a careful eye on me.

This little guy didn't mind sharing the trail, but he was keeping a careful eye on me. © Rick Keppler

The Cougar Crest trail connects with the Alpine Pedal Path via this short paved trail that passes under Highway 18.

The Alpine Pedal Path connects with the Cougar Crest trailhead via this short paved trail that passes under Highway 38. © Rick keppler

Cedar trees are abundant on the Cougar Crest Trail.  The bark on these trees is as soft as cloth.  Be careful, some people are allergic. - Photo by Kaela Fengler, Sept. 2010.

Cedar trees are abundant on the Cougar Crest Trail. The bark on these trees is as soft as cloth. Be careful, some people are allergic. - Photo by Kaela Fengler, Sept. 2010.

If your looking for information on Big Bear’s fascinating history, visit the Big Bear History Site.Com or go to the Channel-6 website program guide.  Here you will find the dates and times for the various historical episodes on Channel-6’s Big Bear History Show.

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If you plan on visiting Big Bear Lake, check out Big Bear Cabins and Coupons .Com.  “Cabins and Coupons” has downloadable discount coupons for Dining Out and Shopping with Big Bear merchants. They also have lodges & privately owned cabins for rent of every size and flavor if your looking for a place to stay.

Hoffman Websites
Butchers Block
Nottinghams Tavern
Sonora Cantina

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