Big Bear Camping: Your Ultimate Camping Destination

Big Bear Camping

Are you looking for a camping ground located in Southern California this coming summer? One of the most popular places you can consider for outdoor activities in this region is the Big Bear. The Big Bear Lake together with the surrounding Valley has many gorgeous campsites that you can use to enjoy yourself.

The temperatures of this place are so cool during the summer. This makes the already economical adventure more enjoyable. This place is so perfect for family vacation. Have an entire family outing where you get away from the daily hustle with a close look at what nature provides.

Remember that children never forget so easily. If you take them to this campground, they will make a memory out of it for the rest of their living days. Is there any better way to unwind apart from waking up in an RV or a tent to tall trees and pine-scented air? I do not think there is any.

Big Bear Camping: Your Ultimate Camping DestinationDirections to Big Bear LakeCampgrounds available around the Big Bear LakeAre backpackers allowed in the Big Bear area?Major annual events in the Big Bear LakeFire guidelines and restrictions in the Big Bear CampingOther campgrounds available in this areaConclusion

Directions to Big Bear Lake

The great Big Bear Lake is located about 150 miles from San Diego and 100 miles from Los Angeles. It is found at an elevation of 7000 feet which is a very nice change from the desert and coast life. The campgrounds found in this area are separately located.

The Big Bear Lake has been surrounded by the famous San Bernardino National Forest. It, therefore, means that the National Forest Service runs most of these campgrounds. These campgrounds are found at the Big Bear area but not actually at this lake.

The place is approximately 90 miles away from the Palm Springs which doubles up as the nearest airport to the place. If you are planning to use a plane to the area, then this is where you will land before finding your bearing to the Big Bear Lake.

Campgrounds available around the Big Bear Lake

  • Serrano Campground

This campground is situated in San Bernardino Mountains. It is just a walking distance from the Big Bear Lake. This fairly modern and scenic campground offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, canoeing, swimming, skiing and biking among others.

Big Bear camping: Couple kayaking on lake

Couple kayaking on Big Bear lake, California

This campground can be accessed using the Rim of the World Scenic Byway. The mountainous setting that is largely characterized by pine trees and sagebrush along the paved roads makes it really stand out.

The Alpine Pedal Path, Cougar Crest Trail, Pacific Crest Trail plus the nearby Big Bear Ranger Station are very ideal for either biking or hiking. When it comes to boating and fishing, there is no direct access to the lake offered by the campground.

However, there is a boat ramp one mile away that can be used by enthusiasts of these activities. Some of the species of fish you can find here are catfish, trout, bluegill, crappie and bass. At this campground, you are likely to find over a hundred sites for RV and tent camping.

There are sites that provide utility hookups for the RVs. There is a dump station within the campground to ensure that the place is kept clean at all times. Remember there are bears that do roam around this place, so if you place the remaining foodstuffs just anywhere then you might invite these unpredictable strangers.

Tables, campfire rings together with grills, showers, flush toilets plus drinking water are catered for by the campground.

  • Holcomb Valley Campground

This campground is located five miles north of Big Bear Lake and in the historical and amazing Holcomb Valley. It actually got its name from a hunter known as Bill Holcomb who discovered gold north of the Bear Valley.

It is found along the Forest Service Road (3N16). This place is always open throughout the year only that vehicle access is limited based on the conditions of the road. To get to the campground, use the Van Dusen Canyon for approximately 4 miles then make a left turn.

The 19 single-family campsites found in this ground are amazing. All these sites are allocated on the first-come-first-serve basis. Each site is capable of accommodating up to 8 people and 2 vehicles. Amenities provided are one picnic table, vault toilets and a fire ring.

The archaeological sites that are in this place should never be interfered with. America’s past is traced through this, and you are probably not the last person to visit this place. Our future generations might be left with nothing to refer to if we don’t preserve such sites.

Do not touch any remains you come across. RV and tent sites are available with Pack, Saddle and Draft animals not allowed in the campground. If you must carry your pets along, ensure that they are not left unattended and leashed at any particular time.

  • Hanna Flat Campground

This is another campground found in the Big Bear area. It is to the North West of Fawnskin which is on the North Shore. The beauty of this place is as a result of the Jeffrey Pines, native shrubs, Ponderosa forest, wildflowers and wild roses.

Big Bear Camping Wildflowers

Yellow Wildflowers in the Southern California Mountains of Big Bear Lake

Being that this campground is heavily shaded, expect to watch numerous birds and wildlife as you enjoy biking and hiking in the trails. This place is found on the Forest Road (3N14) but two and a half miles North West of the Fawnskin which is in the Big Bear Lake.

It is at an elevation of 7000 feet with a portion of the road leading to the campground being dirt. Once you are within, you will enjoy paved roads. A campfire ring together with grill and picnic tables are provided in every campsite.

The number of spaces in this area is 88 with half being on the first-come-first-served basis. The remaining half requires reservations. The RV and tent sites have space length of 40’. It means that RVs that are over 26 feet are not allowed in this area. Some of the amenities provided are pay phone, water and vault toilets.

  • Big Pine Flat Campground

Found at an elevation of 6820 feet in the Big Bear area, the Big Pine Flat Campground is made of tall pines. There are 19 sites in this area which are given out by the first-come-first-served criteria.

Fire ring, drinking water and picnic tables are all provided for campers. In the entire Big Bear area, this is the only campground where ATVs are allowed. Riding the ATVs within the campground is however prohibited.

Water is limited in this place. It is advisable that you come with your RVs already filled. To get to this place, drive on the northern side of the lake from the North Shore Drive. Get to the SR-38 once you are in Fawnskin City. Turn to your right, and you will be on the Rim of the World Drive but past the County Fire Station 96.

Continue with this pavement till it ends at the Forest Road (3N14). Approximately 5 miles into the dirt road takes to the Big Pine Flat Campground. From here, the gates will be just 50 yards on your left but past the 3N16.

  • Pineknot Campground

This is an ideal place for a family outing. It is close to Big Bear Lake and Snow Summit Ski Area. It is found at an elevation of 7000 feet but close to the village. If you are into mountain hiking and biking, then this is the perfect place for you. You are likely to meet so many of your colleagues in the trails.

The campground can hold RVs though it is best placed for tent camping. Numerous single-family sites are available at space lengths of 45 feet. You can visit the place any other day and confirm availability of space after which you will be booked in.

Flush toilets, tables, campfire rings with a grill and garbage collection bins are available in the campground. There are however no hookups.

  • Remote Campsite (Yellow Post Sites)

There are instances that visitors are allowed to camp outside the developed grounds in the Big Bear Lake region. You need to have a permit to camp in these areas. The permits are awarded by Big Bear Ranger Station for free after you apply in person.

The Big Bear Ranger Station is on North Shore. Enjoy the nature that is available in this place in the form of meadows, streams and springs. The water is however not safe for drinking unless treated. You can carry your own water if you will spend most of your time in the Remote Camping areas.

Ferns and wildflowers make this place so beautiful. Remember not to leave any food behind or bury the food in the ground. It is very rear to see bears around, but they are not far away so don’t risk your life.

Big Bear Camping Bear

It is very rear to see bears around, but they are not far away so don’t risk your life

It can really get hot during the day when summer camping in the Big Bear region. The nights, on the other hand, are so cold. You should, therefore, carry some warm clothes for the evening gatherings.

Are backpackers allowed in the Big Bear area?

Backpackers are allowed to camp in the forest. There are however rules that they must adhere to. These are:

  • No fires
  • Keep a distance of not less than 200 feet from water and streams
  • You should be a ¼ mile from the designated campgrounds
  • Camp at least a ¼ mile away from private property

Major annual events in the Big Bear Lake

  • 1JazzTrax Summer Music Festival in June
  • 24th of July fireworks in July
  • 3Art on the Lake, Fine Arts Festival in August
  • 4Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest every weekend up to end of October

Fire guidelines and restrictions in the Big Bear Camping

  • Charcoal and wood fires are not allowed in the Remote (Yellow Post) campsites
  • No fireworks in the San Bernardino National Forest
  • Smoking is restricted to enclosed buildings and vehicles
  • Campfire permits are needed for gas and propane lanterns and stoves outside the developed recreational sites
  • Recreational shooting is only allowed in the Public Shooting Ranges that are operated under special permits
  • Charcoal and wood fires are to be used only in picnic grounds and developed campgrounds or within the provided camp stoves of fire rings
  • All internal combustion engines used in the designated forest routes must be fitted with spark arresters that are approved

Violation of any of the following restrictions warrants a fine of up to $10,000 or up to 6 months of imprisonment. In case you are found culpable of causing a wildfire, you will be held responsible for any injuries, resource damage or suppression costs.

Other campgrounds available in this area

Big Bear Camping also contains prime RV parks for camping in style. The RV parks keep you close to nature besides the luxury that they come with. They are just right on the shoreline. They are:

  • Big Bear Shores RV Resort
  • Holloway’s Marina & RV Park
  • Lighthouse Trailer & Marina


Leisure activities in the woods at elevations of 7000 feet are without any doubt what everybody wants to experience. There is actually no better place than the Big Bear Camping. The sunny skies, year-round activities and the mountains make the area a perfect family destination.

This place is busy throughout the year and it is advisable that you make reservations in advance to avoid being disappointed. Enjoy camping in this area by following the laid down guidelines and restrictions. All these restrictions are geared towards ensuring your safety plus all those who are using the facility.

There is no better place than this. Get your value for money by ensuring that you are part of the troupe that has made Big Bear camping part of vacation options.

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