DescriptionWithin San Bernardino and Riverside counties, San Bernardino National Forest covers nearly 700,000 acres. Wide variations in climate, vegetation, scenery, natural resources and outdoor recreation can be found within the forest, which encompasses the highest mountains in Southern California, including 11,490-foot Mount San Gorgonio. Some 151,000 acres are set aside as the Cucamonga, San Gorgonio, Santa Rosa and San Jacinto wilderness areas.
In addition to the resort centers of Lake Arrowhead, Big Bear Lake and Idyllwild, there are campgrounds (check with the Forest Supervisor for fire restrictions), picnic areas and seven winter sports areas. Other recreational opportunities include hiking, skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, bird-watching, fishing and hunting. Information about walking, driving and self-guiding tours of the historic mining area in Holcomb Valley is available at the Big Bear Discovery Center on the north shore of Big Bear Lake, 1.2 miles west of the Stanfield Cutoff on SR 38.
Two scenic byways provide views of the San Bernardino and San Jacinto Mountains as well as access to recreation areas. The 110-mile Rim of the World Scenic Byway begins in Cajon Pass, travels along the crest of the San Bernardino Mountains and ends near the Mill Creek Ranger Station, near Redlands. The 67-mile Palms to Pines Scenic Byway begins at I-10 in Banning and follows SR 243 to SR 74 and Palm Desert. En route there are spectacular views of both desert and mountains, with numerous roadside pull-offs featuring interpretive panels.
The National Forest Adventure Pass is required in some of the day-use areas, trailheads and campgrounds in the San Bernardino National Forest. The cost is $5 for a day pass or $30 for an annual pass. For more information contact San Bernardino National Forest, 602 S. Tippecanoe Ave., San Bernardino, CA 92408; phone (909) 382-2600.
Things to SeeBig Bear Discovery Centersee attraction listing.