Big Bear Lake rests in the middle of the San Bernardino mountain range, approximately 100 miles from Southern California's Pacific coastline. The Mojave Desert borders the mountains' eastern slopes. The mountains and surrounding area offers a wide array of year around recreational activities, especially for the four-wheel enthusiast. This is one of the reasons Jeep Jamboree USA and the Inland Empire 4 Wheelrs have hosted the very popular Big Bear Jeep Jamboree in and around the forests of this recreational playground for the past 13 years.
This transverse mountain range is relatively short in length, running 60 miles east to west; its highest peak measures in at 10,865 feet. Big Bear Lake can be found in the middle of the range at 7,000 feet and at the coordinates of 34 15.064 N by 116 55.009 W. Scientists believe that the range was formed by activity from the California's tectonic plate movement and the San Andreas Fault. This likely explains the reason for its unique terrain, which offers some very fun 'wheeling. While most of the trails wind their way through beautiful lodgepole pine forests, others run through a mix high-desert vegetation, pinion pine, and scrub forest. If you travel up the eastern side of the mountains, you would notice the extreme change from desert to forest.
This year's event attracted 108 Jeeps and 200 participants. Trail rating difficulty levels ranged from 3 to 8. While some trails are very challenging, others leisurely meander in and around Big Bear's historic mining district in Holcomb Valley, Bellville City. There really aren't any structures left from the gold and silver heyday, but the trail leaders were great, telling tales rich history. It's not hard to visualize what went on here in the late 1800s.
California's unusual rainy season this year covered the mountains with an abundance of snow. Runoff helped keep the seasonal streams and creeks at unusually high levels for this time of year. Typically, the trails are very dusty, but instead, they were crisscrossed by small streams, with rarely seen waterfalls at very short distances from the trails. This made some of the granite rock gardens even more fun.
As usual, this Jeep Jamboree was on par with all other Jeep Jamborees held around the country; it was nothing short of topnotch family-oriented fun and four-wheeling. Responsible and safe 'wheeling is always a main focus of the Jamborees. Also, Don-A-Vee Jeep dealership in Placentia, California, keeps a couple of its top mechanics on hand to help participants, with repairs and advice throughout the event. These are just a few of the reasons you will find repeat participants from across the country attending these events. We also have to plug the meals, because they are always excellent. Each day of the event participants are served breakfast, a trail lunch, and dinner.
The last night of the Jamboree was finished with this event's famous raffle. In the past, they have been known to raffle of a Jeep or two. This year, prizes were donated by BFGoodrich, 4West, Warn, Meguiar's, and others.