Paddling in Big Bear

With 22 miles of shoreline, Big Bear Lake is ideal for paddlers, canoes, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, outriggers, skulls and rowboats. The many bays, coves and inlets provide exploration adventures and wildlife expeditions. Depending on the season, the observant paddler will be able to see mallard ducks, bald eagles, great blue herons, and mud hens, as well as trout, bass and sunfish. You may even get a glimpse of a beaver.

Whether you rent a boat or board or bring your own and launch at one of the convenient public boat ramps, remember that the prevailing wind is from the dam.  It is recommended to paddle up wind first. Be sure to consider this when finishing your tour of Big Bear Lake.

IMPORTANT NOTE: You need a Big Bear Lake Boat Permit and Quagga/Zebra Mussel inspection or you will be ticketed! You can get this at the East or West Boat Ramps or at the Big Bear Municipal Water District office. Big Bear Lake Permits / Fees – Tel: (909) 866-5796

Five Best Paddling Experiences

Full Moon Paddle

Each month, as weather allows, paddlers leave in the early evening to paddle to the dam and watch the full moon rise. Be a friend of Open Air Big Bear on Facebook to find dates and details.

Picnic Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner on the Lake

Get some great eats at your favorite Big Bear restaurant and paddle out on the lake. Hook up with other paddlers for a floating meal or stop at one of the many coves along the non-residential shore.

Watch the Fireworks

On Big Bear Lake is the perfect spot to watch the Fourth of July fireworks. Grout Bay on the North Shore is especially good as it is directly across from the fireworks launching site and shallow enough to keep out many of the power boats.

Canoe and Kayak Tours at the Big Bear Discovery Center

During the summer, the Big Bear Discovery Center on North Shore Drive (Highway 38) offers canoe and kayak tours with knowledgeable wildlife guides.

Paddle Big Bear

Big Bear PaddleFest is a festival of clinics and races for kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddleboards on Big Bear Lake. In summer, paddlers can test their stamina at 6700′, take clinics, demo boats and boards, and learn about the latest in paddling gear from vendors and sponsors at Paddle Big Bear.

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Resources for Paddling in Big Bear

Paddle Big Bear
Kayak, SUP and Canoe Clinics and Demos. Paddling Races, Raffles, Prizes, Vendor Expo

North Shore Trading Company
Instructors; Stand Up Paddleboards, Kayaks, Canoes and Paddles Sales; Paddling Gear and Clothing

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Big Bear Adventure Hostel
Paddle Guide, Maps

Big Bear Discovery Center
Tours and Paddling Information


Mountain Paddle Club
Group Paddling, Moonlight Paddling , Expeditions, Instruction

Gear Rental for Paddling in Big Bear

We make it easy to explore Big Bear with rental stores at the most scenic attractions

North Shore Trading Company
Instructors; Stand Up Paddleboards, Kayaks, Canoes and Paddles Sales; Paddling Gear and Clothing

Captain John’s Fawn Harbor & Marina
Kayak, Canoe, and Stand Up Paddleboard Rental

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Johnny’s Ski And Board House
Kayak Rentals

Big Bear Marina
Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard Rental

Holloway’s Marina and North Shore Landing
Kayak and Stand Up Paddleboard Rental

Lake Management for Paddling in Big Bear

Big Bear Municipal Water Department
Lake Management, Boat Permits, Lake Patrol, Quagga/Zebra Mussel Inspection