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The Byways of Big Bear California

Posted in Events on September 1, 2012
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Big Bear, California, can't lay claim to having the most scenic trails in existence. That honor is beset by the likes of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado. Big Bear can't say its trails are the toughest around, either. That honor is owned by routes such as the Hammer trails in nearby Johnson Valley.

All the same, there's still plenty of natural beauty to take in, and there are many, many miles of trails waiting to be explored. One of Big Bear's most significant features is simply its proximity to SoCal urban sprawl. Big Bear is an escape, a valuable swath of natural open space — and just a two-hour drive from the congested freeways of Los Angeles.

Last summer, two Big Bear opportunities presented themselves. One adventure plied classic Big Bear trails: high altitude, pine trees, and a smattering of rocks. The other was unexpected: a traverse from the desert up into a dense Joshua tree forest, and then down to the dusty movie sets of Pioneertown. Each was worth the time and gasoline required, and worth making plans to re-visit in the future.

Whether it's classic or unexpected, Big Bear byways are sure to please.

The Classic

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The log cabin and nearby arrastra are two other Belleville remnants.
The trip up Rattlesnake Canyon gets called “the unexpected” in this story mostly because it was unexpected by yours truly. Rattlesnake Canyon, like most of the trails on Big Bear’s northern desert-facing slope, sees much less traffic than its counterparts in the classic alpine forest above. This shot was taken in some sand dunes in the Johnson Valley OHV area, just across the highway from the Rattlesnake Canyon trailhead.

The Unexpected

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Big Bear Discovery Center
Fawnskin, CA 92333
Backcountry 4x4

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