Pines and oaks on the Town Trail, Big Bear Lake, CA

Town Trail (Big Bear Lake)

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Town Trail, Big Bear Lake, CA
Pines on the Town Trail
Town Trail, Big Bear Lake, CA
Oaks and pines, Town Trail

Town Trail (Big Bear Lake)

      • Location: Snow Summit Ski Resort, Big Bear Lake. Take Highway 18 to Summit Blvd. (5.7 miles east of the western end of Big Bear Lake; 3.5 miles west of downtown Big Bear City). Head south on Summit Blvd. for 0.5 mile and turn right into the large parking lot. The Town Trail starts in back of the resort.
      • Agency: San Bernardino National Forest/Big Bear Discovery Center
      • Distance: 2.4 miles
      • Elevation gain: 200 feet
      • Difficulty Rating: G
      • Suggested time: 1 hour
      • Best season: Year round (check snow conditions during the winter)
      • USGS topo map: Big Bear Lake
      • More information: Trip description here; Map My Run report (longer route) here
      • Rating: 5
Town Trail, Snow Summit Ski Resort, Big Bear Lake, CA
0:00 – Start of the hike at Snow Ski Resort (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

If you don’t mind sharing the route with mountain bikers, the Town Trail (Towne Trail on some signage) is an enjoyable alternative to Big Bear’s shorter hiking trails such as the Woodland and the Alpine Pedal Path. During the summer, the mostly shaded route is a good way to beat the heat. In the winter, its moderate distance and easy navigation make it a workable snow hike.

Town Trail, Big Bear Lake, CA
0:02 – Gate at the start of the Town Trail (times are approximate)

From the bear statue at the entrance to the Snow Summit Ski Resort, head up the concrete stairs and turn right, pass the restrooms and a metal gate to reach the Town Trail. It skirts past the backs of some condos before entering the woods, mainly pines and black oaks. Though civilization is only a few hundred yards away, the trail feels pleasantly isolated as it makes its way west. At about the halfway point (0.6 mile from the start), you reach a junction in the pines. The Town Trail continues west (right); the left fork can be the return route of a possible longer route.

Town Trail, Big Bear Lake, CA
0:15 – Bear right at the junction

The trail ends at a dirt road, 1.2 miles from the beginning. Here you can sneak views of the lake from between the pines before retracing your steps. Another option is to continue uphill on Forest Road 2n08 one mile to the Hike-A-Bike trail, whose lower end you passed earlier. Descending this trail and returning via the eastern half of the Town Trail adds just over a mile and 350 feet of elevation gain to the route.

Town Trail, Big Bear Lake, CA
0:30 – Big Bear Lake as seen from the west end of the Town Trail

Text and photography copyright 2016 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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