Winter and summer are the busiest tourist seasons in Big Bear, California.
With sunny skies and pleasant temperatures, thousands of outdoor and watersports lovers flock to Big Bear during the summer for a variety of summer activities — including boating, hiking, mountain biking and paddle boarding.
After a sluggish fall, Big Bear comes alive again when snow begins to blanket the San Bernardino Mountains, drawing throngs of travelers eager to enjoy the city’s adrenaline-filled winter sports.
Below are three wintertime activities that attract tons of visitors to Big Bear during the holidays particularly despite the higher hotel rates. (Pro tip: try January for the best availability and savings.)
Skiing and Snowboarding
Most ski resorts in Big Bear open for business around Thanksgiving weekend and stay operational until April, which is a few weeks after the last snowfall.
You’re guaranteed to find at least some snow for skiing and snowboarding throughout the winter months; Big Bear receives about 94 inches of snow on average each year, and the ski resorts make their own snow when it doesn’t drop from the sky. The 2022-23 winter was an especially historic one for Big Bear area – with over 240 inches of snowfall total – and a late February winter storm leaving some residents stranded for days.
With 1700+ acres of skiable land for skiers of all ability levels, from beginner runs to expert slopes, Bear Mountain and Snow Summit are the most popular ski destinations in Big Bear. If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, you don’t have to miss out on these fun activities during your Big Bear winter vacation. Take a lesson from the ski resorts and get out on the slopes!
Since skiing is Big Bear’s main winter attraction, we recommend doing yourself a favor by booking your lift tickets, lessons, or rentals early to avoid wasting time waiting in queues.
Big Bear has plenty of forest hiking trails, which offer breathtaking vistas of the San Bernardino Mountains and Big Bear Lake. If you’re lucky, you may even spot some wildlife while hiking. However, these trails tend to become less visible and slippery in the winter, making them a bit more dangerous.
This means snowshoeing, which involves donning special boots designed to spread your weight over a broader area, preventing you from sinking deep into the snow and slipping, is the perfect way to see Big Bear’s beautiful forests and lake surrounded by mountains during winter.
Guided snowshoe tours are often available at the Big Bear Discovery Center. In addition to learning how to snowshoe – if you don’t already know how to – these Big Bear wilderness tours teach you about the adaptations made by plants and animals to the harsh winter weather.
Action Tours also provides snowshoe excursions that can be tailored to your preferences, allowing you to go hard or easy. Snowshoes, trekking poles, and other equipment are offered, however, it’s advised to wear waterproof clothes and shoes to stay warm and dry.
Snow tubing can be a great time for the whole family if you visit Big Bear with kids.
The best place to do it is at Big Bear Snow Play, where you can speed down several groomed lanes in an inner tube, experiencing the electrifying sensation of the wind in your hair and an adrenaline rush.
Your kids don’t need any special equipment or skills to enjoy this exciting family activity — and you can create more memorable experiences if you visit Big Bear Snow Play on Friday, Saturday, or holiday nights, when they light up their snow tubing lanes with flashing neon lights in colors like red, black, green, etc., creating a magical atmosphere.
Big Bear Snow Play also has many other activities you can do as a family, including speedway racing with hi-tech go-karts and rope courses with 30+ obstacles to overcome.
While we can’t cover every Big Bear winter activity in detail in one post, here are a few more you should consider adding to your holiday itinerary:
- Visit Big Bear Alpine Zoo. This is one of two alpine zoos in the U.S. Here, you get to see over 60 alpine animals, including snow leopards, grizzly bears, foxes, owls, and mountain lions.
- Go on a Big Bear helicopter tour. You’ll have an absolutely breathtaking aerial perspective of Big Bear Lake, snow-capped mountain peaks and more during a 7–45 minute scenic helicopter ride. (Don’t forget your phone for the photos.)
- Ziplining: This adventure allows you to travel at up to 35 miles an hour over the snow-covered San Bernardino National Forest and take in the captivating views of the San Bernardino mountain range. Action Tours provides some of the best ziplining tours in Big Bear, and children above 8 years can join in the fun.
Choose Sky High Cabins for Your Big Bear Holiday Accommodation Needs
When planning your winter trip to Big Bear, consider staying at one of our vacation rental properties instead of a hotel.
We have an extensive range of cabins to suit every preference and group size — including secluded mountain retreats, lakefront havens with fantastic panoramas, and roomy homes big enough to accommodate your whole family.
All our vacation rentals are immaculately maintained and furnished with every convenience you require for a warm and restful winter escape, including fully fitted kitchens, hot tubs, and fireplaces. Also, we have ski cabins that are conveniently close to both Big Bear Mountain and Snow Summit! See our rental properties in:
- Moonridge neighborhood (under 5 min drive from Bear Mountain)
- Summit neighborhood (adjacent to Snow Summit)
Sky High Cabins delivers more than just first-rate lodging; we also have a committed staff prepared to give unmatched, personalized services to make your stay in Big Bear unforgettable.
Discover why Sky High Cabins is the #1 choice for Big Bear cabin rentals and management by making your booking for a winter holiday cabin on our reservation site today.
Questions? Please use our online contact form or give us a call at 909-366-0706 if you have any questions about renting a vacation property in Big Bear. We’ll be pleased to address any inquiries you have.