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Big Bear's New Skyline Trail is a First in Decades

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A mountain biker on the Skyline Trail. | Photo: Courtesy Big Bear Lake Resort Association
A mountain biker on the Skyline Trail. | Photo: Courtesy Big Bear Lake Resort Association

Located in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear is a city completely surrounded by national forest, making it quite the recreational hot spot for hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding during the summer season. However, for the last 20 or so years, there hasn't been any new trail infrastructure. This week, that changes.

On Saturday, officials will mark the opening of the Skyline Trail, an 8.4-mile one-way trail that begins behind Snow Summit Mountain Resort and follows the southern ridgeline that makes up Big Bear Valley (roundtrip distance is 16.8 miles). It's part of a planned loop that will eventual go 15 miles for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders (and snowshoeing in the winter).

"From my understanding this is the first new trail introduced to Big Bear in over two decades," said Big Bear Valley Trails Foundation Chair Phil Hamilton, whose group looks to make the valley friendly to non-motorized recreation. The single-track trail mainly parallels 2N10, a heavily used Forest Service road. "We thought it would sure be good to get hikers off that road onto the trail," he said. "It sort of started as a joke, and then we thought we could do this."

And they did -- plus a lot more. In the process of prepping the trail, seven existing trails were identified by the foundation and added by the Forest Service to its official trail system, creating an additional 10 miles of path that connect to 2N10. By next summer, wayfinding signage is scheduled to be in place for those trails.

Completion of the full 15-mile loop will be dependent on funding and volunteer labor. No opening date has been set.

The Skyline Trail is relatively flat, gaining a cumulative 539 feet within the 7,500 to 8,000 foot elevation range. It's trailhead is located at the intersection of 2N10 and 2N06 (check out the elevation graph and map here).

3 Ways to Get There

  • Take Moonridge Road to Clubview Drive and remaining on Clubview Drive until it ends and becomes 2N10. Take 2N10 to the intersection of 2N10 and 2N06 where the trailhead is located. You will need to purchase an Adventure Pass or display a qualifying federal recreation pass.
  • Park at Snow Summit and take the resort's Scenic Sky Chair to the top near the trailhead. A short walk will lead you to the trailhead (ask staff for their trail map).
  • Hamilton also recommends this alternative, which connects to the trail midway through: start at Aspen Glen Picnic near town and hike up 1E01, locally referred to as the Pine Knot Trail (adding to the confusion, the bottom section of the trail is also known as Cabin 89).

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