This is the first post in a series I’m starting called “Weekend Inspiration Wednesday.” I’ll write about our weekend adventures past and present, including local tips for meals and lodging along the way. I’ll post these each Wednesday in hopes that they will serve as some adventure-planning inspiration in the middle of a long week. Please provide feedback and let me know if you’d like to guest post and share an adventure of your own!
Snowshoeing in Big Bear, California!
Looking to get outdoors in the winter but aren’t much of a skiier? Or want to save money and skip the lift pass? Snowshoeing may be just the thing! We were pleasantly surprised by how easy, cheap, and accessible this winter adventure was. We even took a baby in a backpack (check out our recommended carrier/backpack options for hiking with kids). That may not be recommended if the trails are icy or if you’re prone to falling clumsily like I am. That’s why I had J wear the baby. 🙂
The Spot & The Gear
We went in Big Bear, CA. By the way, if you find yourself in need of a place to stay in Big Bear, check out our cute A-frame vacation rental cabin (or check out our experience managing a vacation rental). We needed to rent the gear to check it out and see if this may be something we’d want to invest in gear for down the line. We rented snowshoes at a ski shop in town (at the base of Knickerbacker road). There are plenty of obviously-located rental places though. It was under $50 for two adults to rent shoes and poles for a day.
Trail # 1
A friendly woman at the rental place recommended a locals-only trail of sorts (so many locals in Big Bear are SO friendly – we love it). There is no official trail head or signage, and no trail head parking. There is also no one else on the trail, and it has an excellent lake view, so we loved it! The best way I can describe accessing it is to park behind Amangela’s Sandwich Shop, which we found super yummy for lunch after a strenuous snowshoe climb. Then head up Ironwood Drive until you reach a dead end of sorts (Ironwood continues to the left but straight ahead is a fence and a hill asking to be climbed. Google maps calls the address 896 Sky High Drive.
There was no clear trail after some fresh snow, so we just headed up. We had been warned that mountain lions sometimes frequented the area, so we were on alert. We reached the top, got a great view, and started hiking the ridge line. We saw sooo many fresh mountain lion tracks in the snow that we had to use our better judgement with our baby on board and head back down. The steep decline was a bit precarious, but J navigated it like he’d been snowshoeing forever and I stumbled down in tact.
Trail # 2
Next up, after that yummy sandwich, was a more chill and accessible trail. The Towne Trail in Big Bear is a fairly flat route that gets a lot more foot traffic in all seasons but it’s much easier terrain for snowshoeing newbies. It’s just under 3 miles one way and one end is at one of the ski resorts. The terrain is mostly rolling hills through beautiful woods in the San Bernadino National Forest. The trail was a bit icy the day we went because there had been a fair bit of traffic on it since the snowfall. I did manage to slip an slide a few times myself but we saw families with kids who seemed to be managing at least the beginning of the trail well. Our baby couldn’t stop staring up at the tall pine trees above, and we found them quite mesmerizing as well.
Overall, I would highly recommend snowshoeing as a winter adventure. It felt a lot like hiking, just a little bit more challenging with the funny shoes!