The Ultimate Guide

Step-By-Step Recommendations for Planning Your Next Trip  
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Organizing a getaway to an unexplored town can feel like a daunting task. Where does one initiate the planning process? What will be the overall cost of the trip? How far are the different attractions situated from each other? To alleviate some of the planning stress, we've compiled this guide to assist you.

We recommend approaching the planning process in the following order:

  1. Locate Big Bear Mountain Resort from your starting point
  2. Determine the ideal duration of your stay
  3. Book lodging accommodation
  4. Plan your transportation routes
  5. Reserve activities
  6. Explore events
  7. Prepare a packing list
  8. Identify dining options
Locate Big Bear Mountain Resort

Big Bear Mountain Resort manages three (3) ski/snowboard resorts in the winter which turn into two (2) bike parks and a golf course during the summer months. These venues are situated within the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California. Snow Valley is positioned in Running Springs, CA, while Snow Summit and Bear Mountain are both situated in Big Bear Lake, CA. Depending on Southern California traffic, it is estimated to take less than 3 hours from Los Angeles, Orange County, or San Diego as your starting points.

Snow Valley is 13 miles from Snow Summit. From there, Bear Mountain is less than 2 miles from Snow Summit.
Google maps from LA, OC, and SD to BBMR
Determine the Ideal Duration of Your Stay

This guide centers on Big Bear Mountain Resort, emphasizing skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and golfing. It does not encompass the various other activities available in the area of Big Bear Lake, such as the zoo, bowling, shopping in the village, or other mountain activities. We suggest allocating at least 3 days to fully explore our three action sport properties.

Winter Operations

Day 1: Start your trip at Snow Summit for coffee and breakfast at Oakfire Grill. Spend the afternoon with the best view in Southern California at the top of Skyline Taphouse or take some runs on a snow tube at the Grizzly Ridge Tube Park. On select dates, you can extend your skiing and snowboarding with Night Sessions until 8:30PM.
Day 2: Aim to get the first chair at Bear Mountain after a delicious hot toddy or Irish coffee. Finish up your day at the terrain parks at Bear Mountain before hanging out on the sun deck until closing time.
Day 3: On your last day before heading back down the hill, take Hwy 18 through Running Springs to get to Snow Valley. Spend the day on the slopes or check out the Coyote Creek Tube Park with access to snow tubing and a snow play area for all ages.

Summer Operations

9-Hole Golf Round: 2-3 hours
Mountain Biking: 3-6 hours
Basecamp Activities: 2-6 hours
Hiking: 2-6 hours

Pro tip: Start your day at Bear Mountain golf course and then visit Snow Summit for some cross-country or downhill MTB laps before visiting Snow Valley before heading down the hill. Snow Valley's bike park is open on Fridays until 6PM or 7PM.
Book Lodging Accommodation

As of now, Big Bear Mountain Resort does not own or oversee any lodging properties. However, we are here to assist you with recommendations for some suitable options near our mountains.

Pro tip: While a distance of 4+ miles may not seem extensive, it's essential to consider that mountain towns often have limited road access, leading to potentially doubling the usual drive time. Please plan for triple or more of the typical time, particularly during heavy snow conditions, holidays, weekends, and peak periods, to ensure a more accurate estimation of travel time.
Near Snow Valley (Running Springs)

Please note that there are limited lodging choices near Snow Valley in Running Springs. We strongly recommend planning your visit to Snow Valley either on your way up or down from Big Bear Lake. When conducting your search near Snow Valley consider exploring the following areas:

  • Running Springs (main area) - approx. 6 miles away
  • Green Valley - approx. 8 miles away
  • Arrowbear Lake - approx. 5 miles away


Map of Running Springs
Near Snow Summit & Bear Mountain (Big Bear Lake)

In contrast to other popular resort destinations characterized by condos and tall hotels, Big Bear Lake stands out for its inviting cabin-style accommodations. We highly recommend opting for a charming A-frame or a spacious house cabin rental to truly immerse yourself in the distinctive 'Big Bear' experience. When conducting your search in the Big Bear Valley, consider exploring the following areas:

Closest to the Resorts
  • Big Bear Lake - approx. 1 mile away
  • Moonridge area - approx. 2 miles away
  • Fox Farm area - approx. 1 mile away
Further from the Resorts
  • Boulder Bay area (west side of the lake) - approx. 4 miles away
  • Big Bear City - approx. 5 miles away
  • North Shore area - approx. 4 miles away
  • Sugarloaf area - approximately 9 miles away
  • Fawnskin area (north side of the lake) - approx. 6 mile away


Map of Big Bear Lake

If you're planning a multi-day stay, make sure to secure your lodging reservations directly through BigBear.com before arriving.

Big Bear Lake Village

In addition to wanting to stay near the resorts, you'll also want to take into consideration the popular town attraction, the Big Bear Lake's Village. Located only a mile from Snow Summit and Bear Mountain and approximately 10 miles away from Snow Valley, The Village offers a charming blend of shops, restaurants, and entertainment, providing a vibrant and convenient hub for visitors.

Pro tip: Hop on the free Mountain Transit to get around Big Bear Lake.

Directions on google from Bear Mountain and Snow Summit to the Big Bear Lake village

Plan Your Transportation

Given Snow Valley's mid-way position on the San Bernardino mountains, you can reach it by taking either Hwy 330 or Hwy 18 through Running Springs. On the other hand, to reach Snow Summit or Bear Mountain, you have three options, as Big Bear Lake is positioned at the mountaintop.

While Big Bear Mountain Resort doesn't provide transportation, except for the intermountain shuttle between Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, we have compiled some suggestions on transportation options for your convenience, whether you're traveling from the beach cities or airports.
  • Big Bear Airport (4 miles / 6 km)*
  • Ontario International Airport (58 miles / 93 km)
  • Palm Springs International Airport (85 miles / 136 km)
  • John Wayne Airport, Orange County (92 miles / 148 km)
  • Palmdale Regional Airport (100 miles / 161 km)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (118 miles / 190 km)

*Private and charter aircraft only.
Whether you're looking for ways to get from the beach cities to Big Bear Mountain Resort or have flown in from Los Angeles Airport, take the Metrolink to the San Bernardino Station, then connect to Mountain Transit to arrive directly to the base areas.

Route: multiple routes required
Operated by: Metrolink and Mountain Transit
Travel Time: varies based on pick up/drop off location

Metrolink Website
To travel from Snow Valley to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain, you can take advantage of Mountain Transit. Simply board the Mountain Transit Route 5 Off the Mountain (OTM) for a convenient ride from Running Springs to Big Bear Lake. Please be aware that delays and operations could be impacted during snowy and challenging road conditions.

Route: Route 5 on the Mountain Transit on Hwy 18 from Running Springs to Big Bear Lake
Operated by: Mountain Transit
Travel Time: approx 30-40 minutes

Off the Mountain Route
Whether you're staying a few days in the Big Bear Valley area or have parked in a parking lot not operated by Big Bear Mountain Resort, you can easily take the Big Bear Trolley to get from anywhere in the town to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.

Route: Red Line on the Big Bear Trolley
Operated by: Mountain Transit
Travel Time: varies based on pick up/drop off location

Find Routes
Visitors who have parked in the offsite parking areas in Big Bear Lake owned/operated by Big Bear Mountain Resort can board the parking shuttles, which will transport them directly to Snow Summit or Bear Mountain's base areas.

Route: to/from Sandalwood Lot, Fox Farm Lot, Brownie Lane Lot, Moonridge Lot, and Backward Look Lot to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain base areas
Operated by: Big Bear Mountain Resort
Travel Time: approx 5-10 minutes

Currently, Snow Valley does not offer off-site parking facilities, and this service is not accessible to guests who have parked near Snow Valley.
Once you're at either Snow Summit or Bear Mountain, visit both mountains in the same day by taking the Intermountain Shuttle service every 30 minutes on select dates throughout the season.

Route: to/from Snow Summit and Bear Mountain
Operated by: Big Bear Mountain Resort
Travel Time: approx 10 minutes

For transportation from Snow Valley in Running Springs to Snow Summit and Bear Mountain in Big Bear Lake, please see the Mountain Transit information provided below.
Hwy 330 Direction Map through Hwy 18 Running Springs
Hwy 330 to Hwy 18 RS
Shortest Distance

The shortest and quickest way for visitors coming from Los Angeles, Orange County, and other points west is Hwy 330 / Hwy 18 through Running Springs. Please note that this route can become very congested on the weekends during peak season.
Hwy 18 Direction Map through Running Springs
Hwy 18 RS
Alternative Route Avoiding Hwy 330

This is a great alternative route for visitors coming from the West. Hwy 18 through Running Springs bypasses Hwy 330 and connects straight through to Big Bear Lake and vice versa.
Hwy 38 Direction Map through the back way in Redlands
Hwy 38
Scenic Route, Less Switchbacks

Though the drive on this route takes a bit longer (approx 20 minutes), it is typically less congested than Hwy 330 / Hwy 18. This route will take you the back way through Redlands.
Hwy 18 Direction Map through Lucerne Valley
Hwy 18 LV
Travel Through Lucerne Valley

Hwy 18 is the quickest way to/from Barstow, Las Vegas, and other high desert locations. This route has the least amount of mountain driving.
Traveling to and from Big Bear Mountain Resort presents a considerable challenge, particularly in the winter months when storms are prevalent. California Transportation (CalTrans) enforces snow tire traction restrictions, commonly known as snow chains or cables. The California Highway Patrol is stationed on roads during these restrictions to ensure the safety of vehicles continuing their journey. Although the ski resorts are not directly associated with CalTrans, it's crucial to acknowledge the likelihood of encountering icy and challenging road conditions throughout the winter. Adhering to legal requirements, all vehicles are obligated to carry tire tractions during this period.
Reserve Your Activities Online in Advance

With your lodging and transportation arrangements in place, it's time to dive into booking your activities. Embracing the winter operating season (typically from November to April, contingent on snow conditions) or summer operating season (typically from June to October), Big Bear Mountain Resort provides a thrilling array of options, including skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, snow play, mountain biking, hiking, golfing, zip lining, and more.

Beyond access to the terrains, the resort offers ski and snowboard lessons and mountain biking lessons, along with equipment rentals. Explore each tab for comprehensive insights on your requirements and guidance on how to make your purchases.
    • Snow Valley and Summit Bike Park features Southern California’s premier lift-served, gravity-fed bike parks, with trails and terrain for riders of all ages and ability levels. Buy your lift ticket online and explore other MTB offerings like equipment rentals and lessons.

      Pro tip: Upgrade your MTB lift ticket by bundling on lunch to save.

      Trail Overview

      Buy MTB Lift Tickets Online

      Snow Summit
      Once Snow Summit bike park opens, operations will be offered daily.

      Advanced Purchase RateDay-Of/Window Rate
      Monday - Thursday$45-$55$59
      Friday - Sunday$50-$65$65-$69


      Snow Valley
      Once Snow Valley bike park opens, operations will be offered Friday through Sunday only.

      Advanced Purchase RateDay-Of/Window Rate
      Friday$29-$34$39
      Saturday - Sunday$34-$39$44-$49


      The earlier you buy, the greater the savings. Purchase your lift tickets online and save big compared to window rates. Below are approximate price ranges for BBMR full-day lift tickets based on adults. Lift ticket costs are based on participant's age, date of arrival, and peak/holiday periods. Prices subject to change at any time.

      Why You Should Book in Advance
      • The earlier you buy, the more you save
      • Guarantee resort access as tickets will sell out during peak and holiday periods
      • Go straight to a kiosk to pick up your ticket, no need to stand in line at the ticket window
    • [No Associated Data Item]
    • Take a ride on the Scenic Sky Chair to enjoy panoramic views of the San Bernardino National Forest on a mile-long ascent before arriving at the top of Snow Valley (elevation 7,841 feet) or Snow Summit (elevation 8,200 feet). All Scenic Sky Chair lift tickets are valid for one (1) round-trip ride. Get up to 2 free child lift tickets (ages 12 & under) per paying adult.
      With LunchWithout Lunch
      Monday - Thursday$35$25-$29
      Friday - Sunday$49$25-$29

      Check out more things to do in Big Bear Lake with kids.
    • Big Bear Mountain Resort is home to some of Southern California’s best hiking, from leisurely mountaintop laps with picturesque lake views to an extensive network of Forest Service trails that are easily accessible from the Snow Valley and Snow Summit base areas. Check out the Bobsled Trail for an enjoyable 2-mile top-to-bottom trek featuring breathtaking views of SoCal's tallest mountain, Mt. San Gorgonio (elevation 11,500 feet).

      Find Hiking Routes
    • Big Bear Mountain Resort also offers several base area activities that are perfect for little explorers and thrill-seekers alike, including a 30-foot Climbing Wall, Euro Bungee Trampoline, Kids Full Throttle Course, and Zip Line. All activities are located in the Snow Summit Basecamp area, next to the Adventure Academy on the west end of the base area.

      Explore Activities & Buy Online
    • The information below reflects last winter's products and prices. Check back on November 1 for updated details for the 24/25 winter operating season.

      A lift ticket grants an individual access to use Big Bear Mountain Resort's snow terrain for a specified period. The revenue generated from lift ticket sales contributes to the maintenance and operation of the ski resort, including grooming the slopes, maintaining equipment, and ensuring overall safety on the mountain.

      View Deals

      Buy Lift Tickets Online

      The earlier you buy, the greater the savings. Purchase your lift tickets online and save big compared to window rates. Below are approximate price ranges for BBMR full-day lift tickets based on adults. Lift ticket costs are based on participant's age, date of arrival, and peak/holiday periods. Prices subject to change at any time.

      Advanced Purchase RateDay-Of/Window Rate
      Monday - Thursday$99-$139$159
      Friday - Sunday$135-$159$159-$169


      Why You Should Book in Advance
      • The earlier you buy, the more you save
      • Guarantee resort access as tickets will sell out during peak and holiday periods
      • Go straight to a kiosk to pick up your ticket, no need to stand in line at the ticket window
    • The information below reflects last winter's products and prices. Check back on November 1 for updated details for the 24/25 winter operating season.

      At Big Bear Mountain Resort, both private and group lessons for skiing and snowboarding are available, allowing individuals of all levels to enhance their skills under the guidance of experienced instructors amidst the stunning mountain terrain.

      Reserve Your Lesson Online

      Get the best rates when you purchase in advance. Prices range based on availability, peak holidays and periods. Prices vary between locations. For the best rates, book your lesson at Snow Valley. Prices are the same whether you're renting to ski or snowboard.
      Lesson Size/Type Adult Price Child Price
      Group
      $95-$170 $145-$225
      Private 1 Hour $210-$325
      3 Hours $475-$825
      6 Hours $759-$1,319
      1 Hour Night $210-$325
      1 Hour $210-$325
      3 Hours $475-$825
      6 Hours $759-$1,319
      1 Hour Night $210-$325
      Night Session $115 $115


      Prices do not include lift tickets/terrain access or equipment rentals. Subject to change at any time. View Ski School Hours tab for class times information.
    • The information below reflects last winter's products and prices. Check back on November 1 for updated details for the 24/25 winter operating season.

      Big Bear Mountain Resort provides convenient equipment rental services for skiing and snowboarding, offering high-quality gear to ensure a seamless and enjoyable mountain experience for visitors of all skill levels.

      20% Off on Equipment Rentals

      Reserve Equipment Rentals Online

      Get the best rates when you purchase in advance. Plus, guarantee 20% off when you purchase at least 7 days in advance online. Prices range based on availability, peak holidays and periods. Pricing is subject to change at any time. Prices are the same whether you're renting to ski or snowboard.

      Please note: Beginner equipment rentals are from previous seasons such as the 21/22 or 22/23 winter seasons. Standard equipment rentals are from the 23/24 season.

      Rental Type Adult Price Child Price
      Beginner Package
      Includes ski or snowboard + boots
      $45-$65 $36-$52
      Beginner Rental Only
      Includes ski or snowboard only, no boots
      $38-$55 $29-$42
      Standard Package
      Includes ski or snowboard + boots
      $55-$75 $46-$62
      Standard Rental Only
      Includes ski or snowboard only, no boots
      $46-$67 $37-$54
      Standard Boots Rental Only
      Includes boots only, no skis or snowboard
      $30-$44 $24-$35
      Demo Package
      Includes ski or snowboard + boots
      $79-$115 Not Offered
      Demo Rental Only
      Includes ski or snowboard only, no boots
      $69-$100 Not Offered
      Demo Boots Rental Only
      Includes boots only, no skis or snowboard
      $46-$67 Not Offered


      To be sure you have all the gear you may* need, book a "package" that includes snowboard, boots, and bindings for a snowboard package and skis, boots, and poles for a ski package. Please note that packages include gear only and do not include a lift ticket. A valid lift ticket or season pass is required for lift and terrain access.

      Beginner vs Standard vs Demo means the year the equipment was used. For example, Beginner equipment is from previous years and have been used. Demo are the latest high-tech equipment made for this season.

      Equipment rentals are valid for all-day use on the date(s) of the reservation.

      * Guests may need additional equipment not included in this package. We recommend bringing or renting:
      • Helmets 1
      • Waterproof/snow pants 1
      • Gloves or mittens 2
      • Goggles/sunglasses 2
      • Snow socks 2

      1 Available for an additional fee as a la carte items, subject to availability
      2 Not available to rent but items are sold at the sport shops located in the base areas of each resort

    • The information below reflects last winter's products and prices. Check back on November 1 for updated details for the 24/25 winter operating season.

      A snow tubing time slot ticket allows an individual to participate in snow tubing during a specific designated time period at Snow Valley or Snow Summit. Unlike a traditional lift ticket for skiing or snowboarding, a snow tubing time slot ticket is specific to the activity of tubing down a snow-covered hill.

      These time slot tickets are often used to manage the flow of participants and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. By assigning specific time slots, the resort can control the number of people on the tubing hill at any given time, preventing overcrowding and allowing for organized and efficient tubing sessions.

      View Details
    Upcoming Events

    Join us for unforgettable moments and create lasting memories at Big Bear Mountain Resort. Check our event calendar for the latest updates and plan your visit to be part of the excitement.

    What to Pack

    Weather conditions and temperatures can vary greatly in the mountains. BBMR highly recommends all guests wear multiple layers, including a moisture-wicking base layer, insulating middle layer, and water-resistant outer layers. Helmets, water-resistant accessories (ex. gloves), mid-calf socks, and protective eyewear (goggles or sunglasses) are also recommended. UV exposure is 2% higher for every 1,000 feet above sea level, so remember to use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher during your visit – even on cloudy days – and reapply throughout the day.

    If you forget something, or just want to grab some BBMR branded gear, stop by Big Bear Sports at Snow Summit and Bear Mountain or the Sports Shop at Snow Valley, located in the base areas. For an added bonus, check out our online retail store for BBMR goodies that'll remind you of your alpine good times on-hill.
    Winter Quick Checklist
    • Helmet (required for ages 12 & under, highly recommended for ages 13+)
    • Proper equipment (snowboard/bindings/snowboard boots or skis/poles/ski boots)
    • Eyewear (goggles or sunglasses)
    • Water-resistant jacket
    • Snow pants
    • Water-resistant gloves
    • Sunscreen (SPF 30+)
    • Lip balm
    • Mid-calf socks

    Summer Quick Checklist
    • Water Bottle MTB Helmet
    • Eyewear (goggles or sunglasses)
    • MTB Gloves & Helmet
    • Sunscreen (SPF 30+)
    • Lip balm
    • Closed toe shoes
    Where to Eat

    Indulge in a delightful dining experience at the ski resorts of Big Bear Mountain, where a diverse range of culinary options awaits, providing the perfect blend of nourishment and mountain ambiance for visitors seeking to refuel after their alpine adventures.

    View Dining Guide
    The Planning Doesn't Stop There

    With lodging, transportation, and lift tickets secured, the next steps for your mountain trip include exploring additional activities in Big Bear Lake through the Visitors Bureau at bigbear.com, and familiarizing yourself with mountain safety measures. Additionally, consider checking out in-resort services such as locker storage, waxing, and repair shops to ensure a well-rounded and prepared mountain experience.

    Visit BigBear.com to Complete Your Planning
    Girl getting her snowboard repaired
    Tuning & Repair Services
    Mountain bike services, including brake bleeds, tune-ups, and flat repairs are available in the summer at the rental shop at Snow Valley or the Snow Summit Adventure Academy.

    Need to make a quick adjustment to your gear? We offer FREE tool benches with miscellaneous tools for tune-ups. These stations are located near the tuning and repair shop at Snow Valley and near the Slopeside Rental Shop and the top of Chair 1 at Snow Summit.
    Download the Big Bear Mountain Resort Mobile App to purchase reserved parking tickets and or view the status