High above the smog-filled LA basin lies the green forests and blue skies of Big Bear. It's here that the Inland Empire Four Wheelers club of San Bernardino, California, hosts its annual Big Bear Forest Fest. Otherwise it would be called the Not-Hosted-in-Big Bear Forest Fest. Or maybe the To-Take-Place-in-Generic-Location Forest Fest. Either way, it was a fest and it was held in a forest and we went to check it out.
The Forest Fest takes place in late August, when temperatures on the valley floor below hover near the triple-digit range, but temps on the trail, some 8,000 feet above, are much nicer. It makes the wheeling much more comfortable and the participants smell much better.
This year the club had eight runs going, ranging from "easy" to "most difficult." There's nice scenery and all that happy, touchy-feely crap on the easy runs, but we hopped in with the group heading for the popular John Bull trail, which carries a "difficult" label. While the wheeling isn't like Johnson Valley or some of the harder trails in Moab, there is lots of fun to be had and plenty of cool sections to test even built rigs. Attendance fills up quickly for the difficult runs, so if you're hankering to go next year, visit the club's Web site at www.ie4w.com for info, and sign up early.