Climbing in Big Bear

The Big Bear Valley is a rock climbing destination for Southern California climbers who seek fun sport climbing and bouldering on quality granite. Big Bear climbing season is from spring to fall, with a few areas climbable in winter on the sun-facing north side of the lake.

Best Rock Climbing Areas in Big Bear

Holcomb Valley Pinnacles

These crags host the highest concentration of climbs in the valley with over 200 established sport and trad routes. Moderate routes with lots of features. When people think of rock climbing in Big Bear, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles may come to mind first. Located inside Holcomb Valley, the approach is made from either Polique (2N09) or Van Dusen (3N09) Canyon roads. In addition to the climbing, Holcomb also allows free dispersed camping and many scattered bouldering areas.


Castle Rock

With the south face of this crag standing 100 feet tall, the breathtaking view from the top overlooks the entire Big Bear Lake. Castle Rock hosts many beginner to intermediate bolted sport climbs and a few harder trad routes, so bring your full rack. Many of the routes can be top-roped, too. Castle Rock is also a popular hiking destination. The hike in is a steep 1-mile jaunt. Parking is located 200m away along Hwy 18 and is very limited, arrive early on weekends! Located 1 mile from the Big Bear Dam off Highway 18.


North Shore Boulders

Located on a small hillside on the north shore of the lake, this area has amazingly easy access, great views and sun year round. While there are some bolted routes on the larger rocks, the majority of the climbing here is easy to moderate bouldering. This may be the best beginner destination in the valley and a must for climbers of all abilities who are looking for a quick fix close to town. Located near the intersection of Greenway Drive and Pioneer Lane in Big Bear City.


Bluff Mesa

Bluff Mesa consists of the rocks scattered along the south ridge of Big Bear including Black Bluff, Arctic Temple and Castle Grey Skull, all of which are traditional crags up to 100 feet in height. This is also where you will find Little Tibet, the most concentrated bouldering area in the valley. These areas are approached from the Bluff Mesa Campground or from the end of Forest Road 2N86. The setting and long approach mean you should be all by yourself – as climbing in the mountains should be.


Fisherman’s Buttress

This is the large overhanging rock just off Highway 18 as you head east from Big Bear Lake Dam. Right off the road, this rock is easily the most picturesque around. While most of the climbing is near the harder end of the scale there are both traditional and bolted routes. Located on the south side of the lake, just about 1/2 mile east of the Big Bear Dam along Hwy 18. There are a couple small turnout areas for a few cars on both sides of road.


Find Your Adventure

Resources for Hiking in Big Bear

North Shore Trading Company
Guidebook and outdoor gear

Bear Climbing
Climbing gear (Housed in North Shore Trading Company)

Mountain Project

Online, crowd-sourced resource providing details of the various crags centered around Big Bear Lake.