The San Bernardino Mountains form part of a natural boundary separating the city of Los Angeles from other cities from the Inland Empire region along with the Mojave Desert. The mountain range stretches for more than 50 miles northeast of its namesake city of San Bernardino, soaring to an altitude of approximately 11,500 feet, right in the heart of a wilderness area spanning nearly 95,000 acres.
The San Bernardino Mountains are more than just a picturesque backdrop for the city, offering near-endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. If you’re someone who enjoys savoring fresh mountain air, being surrounded by enchanting landscapes, and simply reconnecting with nature, here are a few unforgettable activities to enjoy:
- San Gorgonio Mountain – Considered the most popular destination in the San Bernardino wilderness, San Gorgonio draws countless hikers each year for its panoramic views and long summit.
- Grand View Point Hike – This is a long and scenic out-and-back hike offering sweeping views of the San Bernardino and Santa Ana valleys. A perfect alternative if you find too many hikers at San Gorgonio Mountain.
- Cougar Crest Trail – Head to Cougar Crest Trail for some of the best views of Big Bear Lake. The perfect time to visit is during the early summer when the trail is filled with wildflowers.
Hiking and camping
One of the best ways to explore the San Bernardino Mountains is to lace up a good pair of hiking shoes, pack a few snacks, and just soak in the scenic views. The mountains are known to offer some of the best hiking and camping destinations in the region.
To get started, here are three excellent trails to check out:
Skiing and snowboarding
Skiers and snowboarders can find more than 55 miles of slopes in the San Bernardino Mountains. Ski resorts in the area include Bear Mountain, Snow Summit, and Snow Valley.
Bear Mountain is very popular for snowboarders, while Snow Summit is geared mostly towards skiers. Snow Valley is known for its more novice-friendly slopes, as well as its easy access to LA. All three ski resorts are great for beginners, as the terrain is considered very tame and is excellent for those who’d just like to have fun while learning how to ski or snowboard.
Water activities at Lake Gregory
Surrounded by views of enchanting pine-covered mountains, Lake Gregory is perfect for families looking forward to fun, relaxing water activities right in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains. Located in the community of Crestline, the lake is known as one of the cleanest and most well-maintained lakes in the area. Regular water tests are conducted weekly during peak swimming months, and monthly during the rest of the year.
This outstanding venue is home to historic water slides, an array of top-notch inflatable water play structures, a sandy beach, and plenty of pedal and paddle boats. The lake is also a fantastic destination for anglers, as its waters are stocked with rainbow and brown trout. If you’d like to go fishing, simply look for one of the many Fishing Pay Stations located throughout the lake area.