Mountain Biking in Big Bear

Big Bear has a rich history of mountain bike riding and racing that started back in the early 80's. What started with a couple of small local races grew to a point where Snow Summit hosted a number of World Cup races and became the premier destination in Southern California for lift service mountain biking. Despite the fact that Snow Summit no longer host mountain bike races at the resort, lift service mountain biking continues, and offers the general public one of the easier and more spectacular ways to enjoy the grandeur of the Big Bear Valley. Mountain bike racing is still alive in Big Bear as well. Each summer Team Big Bear hosts a number of races that are part of the Southern California State Championship Series. From the hard core mountain bike enthusiast, to an athletic family, the valley offers a wide variety of options for riding.

A few suggestions before you embark on any of these rides: Make sure you and your group are prepared. Your bikes need to be in good working order, take plenty of food and water, and please, stop by one of the local bike shops or the Big Bear Discovery Center and pick up a map.

Best Mountain Bike Trails

The following ride descriptions are intended to give you an overview of the ride and are not intended to be a mapquest, turn by turn description of your ride.  Take a map and do not be afraid to stop by one of the bike shops for information.

Grout Bay Trail
This is a local favorite.  Despite its short distance, 10 miles, this is one of the best single tracks in the valley. Park across the street from the fire station in Fawnskin.  Head west on the pavement, it will turn to dirt, the dirt road is Forest Service Road 3N14.  Take 3N14 past YMCA Camp Whittle to Hanna Flats Campground, go to camp site 51, the trail starts here.  The trail is signed but does cross a number of forest service roads so pay attention.  The loop will take you back to Fawnskin. Option -For the more advanced riders, a trip to the Butler Peak Fire Tower, at 8535’, will offer you the most spectacular 360 degree panoramic view of the Big Bear Valley, the LA basin, and the high desert. The two roads you need to locate on your map to make this out and back trip are 2W13 and 2N13C.  You can ride the Grout Bay Trail then turn right on 2N13 head up to the tower and finish the ride by returning to the Grout Bay Trail and riding into Fawnskin.

Holcomb Valley
Holcomb Valley is accessible by forest service road 3N09, known to most as Van Dusen Canyon.  You can ride the 4 miles up Van Dusen Canyon or for a family outing, drive the 4 miles and start at the top of Van Dusen Canyon where it junctions with forest service road 3N16. For a relatively easy ride, take 3N16 to the east at the top of Van Dusen Canyon.  3W16 will take you past a beautiful mountain meadow, once the site of the town of Belleville and the center of mining activity in the valley.  Continuing on 3N16 for another 3 miles, you will arrive at the site of the old Lucky Baldwin Mine and a fantastic view of the Mojave Desert.  At this point you should turn around and head back to your original location. Option - For advanced riders a trip around Delmar Mountain is a great ride.  Go west on 3N16 to 2N09 (turn left), take 2N09 to 2N71. 2N71 will take you around the front side of Delmar Mountain and will offer unbelievable views of Big Bear Lake and the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area.  Take 2N71 to 3N12 (turn right), 3N12 to 3N16 (turn right).  On the return trip on 3N16 you will pass Hitchcock Ranch, now a Boy Scout Camp, and one of the most beautiful meadows in the Big Bear area.

Grand View Loop
For over 20 years, this 9 mile ride from the top of the Snow Summit Sky Chair  lift, has been a Big Bear Classic.  The ride begins with a breathtaking ride along forest service road 2N10 with the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area to the south and the Santa Ana River Valley below; you will not be at a loss for photo opportunities.  The return trip, on forest service road 2N08 and Town Trail, offers a number of outstanding lake views. Option -If you are looking for a longer ride from the top of the chair lift, then continue on 2N10 to the Lodge Pole Pine.  This massive lodge pole pine tree is surrounded by a beautiful meadow and accessible on a sweet little section of single track.  The return trip will be on 2N17, 2N08 and Town Trail.  This is an 18 mile ride.

A Few More Recommended MTB Trails

Pine Knot -1E01
Another Big Bear Classic....start and end in the Village on an incredibly designed trail. Trail head found at Aspen Glen Campground, on Mill Creek Road...1/2 mile west of Big Bear Village. An out and back/up and down to Grand View point is an excellent moderate level ride. 6 miles roundtrip with plenty of opportunity to expand on this ride.

Santa Ana River Trail
Often written up as one of the most incredible mountain bike rides in California. Catching this from the very top trail head, and making your way to the very bottom in Redlands...will satisfy one's appetite for single track for years. Accessed from hwy 38, approximately 15 minutes outside of Big Bear...a true gem of southern California. Can be 2 to 8 hour single track ride.

Pioneer Town Ride
Generally a one way ride to the awesome historical desert town of Pioneer Town, visit 'Papi and Harriet's'. Access this from Baldwin Lake...and arrange a shuttle ahead of time...and enjoy one of most classic, nearly fully downhill ride from alpine Big Bear to the high desert on the edge of Joshua Tree National Monument.

Mountain Biking in Big Bear

Big Bear Road Cycling

Big Bear Lake road cycling burst onto the international scene in 2010 as a Stage Finish for Stage #6 of the Amgen Tour of California.  This 135 miles, 13,000 foot stage was complimented by international cycling announcer Phil Liggett in his comment that “we have just been treated to one of the best cycling stages we’ve seen in America, ever!” and was also the subject of an extensive article in Velo News comparing Stage #6 to the most difficult stages in the Tour de France. The Tour of California returned to Big Bear in 2012 making a splash once again in the cycling world with "the Tour's most difficult stage."

Cycling is part of the casual outdoor lifestyle found in the San Bernardino Mountains. Road enthusiasts can ride from the simple City Bike Routes  to the climbing challenge of Onyx Summit.  Join our visitors, second homeowners, residents and the Big Bear Cycling Association and “Ride with Us!”

Best Road Cycling Routes

Lake Circle (Tour de Big Bear) – 18 miles
Generally Flat – Trail can begin from anywhere in the city and goes around the scenic shores of Big Bear Lake and through surrounding neighborhoods in Big Bear Lake.  Basic route will take you on city streets and state highways.  From City Hall, head west on Highway 18 to Big Bear Dam.  Turn right on Highway 38 at Dam and go east across North Shore Drive through town of Fawnskin, past Big Bear Discovery Center to Stanfield Cutoff.  Right on Stanfield Cutoff to Big Bear Blvd., Right on Big Bear Blvd and a variety of routes can be taken to get through city and back toward City Hall.

Arctic Circle  – 30 miles
Rolling Hills and  Beautiful Scenery - Trail can begin from anywhere in the city and goes around the scenic shores of Big Bear Lake and through surrounding neighborhoods in Big Bear Lake.  Basic route will take you on city streets and state highways.  From City Hall, head west on Highway 18 to Big Bear Dam.  Turn left at Big Bear Dam and head west across Arctic Circle towards Snow Valley Ski Area.  Head west about 6.5 miles and turnaround at “Lakeview Point”, before road heads down into Snow Valley area.  Head back east across Arctic Circle, take North Shore Drive (Highway 38) across North Shore and follow remainder of Tour de Big Bear route.

North Shore – 38 miles
Rolling Hills and Fast Flats – Trail can begin almost anywhere in Valley and get to North Shore Drive.  Head west to Big Bear Dam, turnaround and head east all the across to the top of Cushenbury Grade.  Turnaround at Cushenbury Grade and turn left on Baldwin Lake Road and follow Baldwin Lake Road around until it becomes Shay Meadow Rd and wind your way back through Big Bear City and Big Bear Lake on signed bike routes.

Onyx Summit – 16 miles
Climbing from 6750 to 8500 feet – the best true climb within Big Bear Valley.  This is State Route 38 as it climbs out of Big Bear Valley at the far east end.  This ride is usually added onto to one of the previous rides for more high altitude training!

Please contact the Big Bear Cycling Association at for ride schedules and events.

Road Cycling in Big Bear

Resources for Road and Mountain Biking in Big Bear

Team Big Bear
Bike Racing, Results and Links

Bear Valley Bikes
Bikes for Sale, Bikes for Rent, Guided Bike Tours, Maps, Bike Parts, Repairs, Clothing, Shoes.

Folletts Map
Best Map of Big Bear MTB Trails – available for purchase on line and at bike stores and other specialty stores in Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear Cycling Association
Regular Group Rides, Cycling Events, Local Cycling Resource Guide

Big Bear Adventure Hostel
Group Rides, Mountain Bike Trail Information, Maps

Snow Summit Sky Chair Rides
Sky chair rides
Online Trail Maps
Bike Maps, Route Resources, Always Something New

Big Bear Valley Trails/Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation
Group Rides, Maps, Trail Conservation

4 Seasons Coaching
Coaching and Endurance Run Training

Guide and Ride (email)
Ride Big Bear's coolest singletrack and local hotspots with local legend Rich "The Rev" White.

Steven K Sports
Professional Mtn. Bike Team, Race Training, Coaching & Guided Tours with local Pro Rider Steve Kinney

Bike Shops in Big Bear

Bear Valley Bikes

Chains Required


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