We’ll take any opportunity to visit Big Bear Lake. Most years, it’s our family ski destination or a fabulous summer vacation respite when something else in the Southern California area beckons down below the mountain. When my teen daughter, girlfriend and I were on a Southern California girlfriend getaway and I heard the colors were popping in Big Bear, we jumped at the chance, even if only overnight, to savor the exquisite beauty of Big Bear, in yet a different season.
When we arrived this time in Autumn, Big Bear offered a peaceful serenity that was a delight after having spent a week in the hustle and bustle of Southern California traffic, shopping, and theme parks in the areas below. Of course we have been to Big Bear numerous times and have always appreciated that unlike so many beautiful and serene destinations, it offers a less-touristy and uncrowded appeal. But in Autumn, in the shoulder season, that asset is only better.
In the winter and summer, during peak seasons, we have always appreciated how when one approaches Big Bear, life just seems to slow down and visitors decompress as they succumb to what locals refer to as “Big Bear Time.” This therapeutic decompression in the Autumn, was even more evident even though we knew it was not long before the winter snow enthusiasts would make an annual pilgrimage to Big Bear’s spectacular winter offerings.
The highlight of our overnight alpine jaunt was a hike above the lake on the Pine Knot Trail. Autumn had been kind to Big Bear and there could not have been a more perfect climate for an invigorating hike to enjoy the popping of color framing the expansive, sapphire lake.
After a peaceful night’s slumber in our quaint cabin rental we were ready to look for the higher level fall color we’d heard so much about.
We saw a couple of hikers and mountain bikers on our two hour hike as we climbed vistas and bluffs which afforded spectacular views of the lake we hold dear in our hearts. Clear cobalt skies and pristine mountain air kept us motivated and refreshed as we meandered through the woods of various pines and shrubs. The call of an occasional Stellar Jay summoned us along our way. We finished just after midday when the glorious weather was near peaking in the mid 70’s, just in time to remove a layer or two.
Rejuvenated but famished, our hearty appetites were satiated at Big Bear’s best burger joint, Grizzly’s Bear Belly Deli where owner Jayme Nordine has been serving up fresh and hearty, high-quality goodness for a dozen years to locals and visitors with big (Bear) appetites. Our burgers were huge and the deli sandwiches ginormous, all fresh and prepared artfully right in front of our eyes. We cut them in half and shared around the table to savor the goodness. As we sat at this dog-friendly locals’ joint on the patio, enjoying our last glimpse of the surrounding brilliant foliage glistening in the warm Autumn sunshine, we were reminded again why Big Bear is so dear to us and thousands of others.
Every single season at Big Bear is a varied and brilliant facet to a glistening diamond of majesty. A true all-season, alpine destination, Big Bear Lake never disappoints, and we can’t wait to return to see it in every other season, with all its grandeur and splendor.