Lace-up for a Fresh-Aired Hiking Adventure

Discover if Big Bear byways like Pine Knot or Cougar Crest are the trails you're seeking for an autumn idyll.

Maria Fuchs

What to Know

  • Big Bear hikes include easy, intermediate, and advanced/expert trails of varying length
  • There are bike paths, too
  • All visitors should read the "Back to Big Bear" page, as well as any California travel advisories, before hitting the road

Fall often earns accolades in the delightful departments of "diffuse sunlight" and "mellow afternoons" and "fragrant breezes," while August earns so few.

That's because many of us associate the eighth month with extremely hot days and sweltering outings, and, while this association has some ground to stand upon, August is also an under-acknowledged doorway to autumn.

We see it in little ways, in the wind's change and the softening of morning sunbeams. And the first place that autumn begins to enter our worlds each August is at a higher elevation.

Which means that places like Big Bear start to sense the coming season before people down below do, even if we're sharing the exact same timeline.

If you're wishing you might escape summer's swelter for a few hours, and you're daydreaming about communing with nature while hanging out with your family unit on one of the many hiking trails found around Big Bear, we get it.

You can plan ahead now if you like, and look to a month or two down the road, for a time when autumn will be in full and fall-tastic force around Big Bear's trails.

There are several to choose from, and all provide that you're-with-nature feeling.

If it is a super-toasty day, even at a higher elevation, you may not get that autumn flavor, but you might still sense something changing on the breeze.

How to choose?

Several trails are listed here, from Towne Trail, which is described as "easy," to the six-mile Pine Knot Trail, an intermediate challenge.

Please observe the lengths of each trail and what it holds (and whether it is better for bicycles or pedestrians) before setting off.

And even before that?

Perusing the "Back to Big Bear" page, to learn about the current pandemic-related closures and safety advisories, is essential, as is knowing what the travel restrictions and advisories are for California.

If you decided to wait for autumn for your Big Bear hike, due to travel recommendations, you can let the delicious anticipation of the mellowest season settle into your hope-filled heart.

True story: Planning ahead a month or two can truly stoke the excitement for a day out in nature or a small road trip, and we're connecting with that particular form of anticipation, and patience, too, over the summer of 2020.

Wherever and whenever you go, do "Roam Responsibly," observe physical distancing, and get familiar with the safety protocols.

This call to action, seen on the Back to Big Bear page, seems like a wise and completely doable message to heed, whatever trail you take to find autumn's start.

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