Updated: May 22
Summer is over, and many residents of Southern California and the surrounding area are eagerly awaiting the chance to embark upon a fall getaway. What better place to visit in the fall than the mountains? Enjoy the fresh mountain air, embrace the beautiful fall colors, and take part in fun fall activities.
Autumn to most Californians’ is a whimsical experience that you must travel east to actually participate in. Not true. Big Bear Lake offers a vacation replete with mountain town vibes and plenty of autumn breezes, falling leaves hued with yellow, orange and red, crisp fresh air and a glimmering lake.
Big Bear Lake is just a couple of hours north of Los Angeles. Visiting this spot feels a lot like going to another state, one that just happens to be in your backyard.
Here are the 10 best things to do when visiting Big Bear in Fall.
1. Hit the Trails
Photo Credit: tk8ez via Instagram
Although our trails are enjoyable year round, we all know that fall is for hiking! Seeing as Big Bear Mountain is situated in the San Bernardino Mountains, it should come as no surprise that it has a wide array of trails for hikers of all skill levels, not to mention a few bike trails.
With so many great hiking trails in Big Bear, your only decision is to decide which trail to take on first. A few of the top trails in San Bernardino National Forests are the Pine Knot Trail and Castle Rock Trail, but there are so many more to enjoy the fall foliage.
For a really fun hiking adventure, bring your dog on your trip to Big Bear. Big Bear has plenty of dog-friendly activities and fun things, other than hiking, for you and your dog to enjoy together. If there’s anything that affirms our obsession for fall, it’s a dog. Cooler weather will be a welcome change for both you and your furry friend and can open up many trails that might have been no-go’s for the preceding several months.
2. Have Some Fun on the Lake
Photo Credit: Jeff Cleveland
Anyone visiting Big Bear Lake has possibilities aplenty when it comes to having fun on the water. Grab a pole and go fishing, hop aboard a jet ski and kick up some waves, rent a boat and cruise around the lake yourself, or embark upon one of the guided lake tours.
You can also opt for some R&R and lounge on the shore and soak in the sun. From the lake, you’ll get great views of the changing colors.
3. Escape the Weather
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In the unlikely event that the weather doesn’t cooperate, which admittedly does happen once in a blue moon, Big Bear Lake also has plenty of indoor activities to enjoy that are fun enough in their own right.
A few of our favorite rainy day activities is to light a fire at your cabin rental and challenge your group to a classic board game or hit The Bowling Barn for some Glow Bowling. While this might sound like the most appealing reason to spend the autumn season, a cozy night in a mountain cabin is actually one of the most romantic things to do in the area.
4. Celebrate Oktoberfest
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Running every weekend from early September until early November, Oktoberfest is the perfect opportunity to revel in the best aspects of German culture: music, entertainment, bratwurst, and, of course, plenty of beer on tap.
This is such a fun way to enjoy Big Bear and take part in a unique event. Trust me, these traditional German bands will get you up and wanting to dance and laugh the night away. It’s a really fun way to spend a day or two in town!
5. Smash Pumpkins While on a Zipline
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As ridiculous as this sounds, it’s actually an activity you can take part in. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hitch a ride on a zipline atop the tree line and smash pumpkins? This action tour is one you and your family will love.
Every Saturday during October, celebrate the fall season by booking a ride at Big Bear Zipline and toss pumpkins to targets below while you zip by. If you hit any of them, you can win a prize. The pumpkin smash is a little bit more fun than a traditional visit to the pumpkin patch, if you ask us.
6. Say Hi to the Zoo Animals
Serving primarily as a rehabilitation center for injured or imprinted animals, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo is the place to see animals up-close while they’re on the road to recovery. Stop by and say hi to a variety of California animals, from bears and eagles to some more exotic species, like wolves and arctic foxes.
While you can visit this zoo any time of year, fall is especially nice due to the cooler temps.
7. Go Horseback Riding
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If seeing animals at the zoo makes you want to experience them a little more closely, then the Baldwin Stables and Petting Zoo might be a great place to visit. While there, you can pet the animals at the stables, then go horseback riding through Big Bear’s scenic vistas.
8. Enjoy a Scavenger Hunt
Photo Credit: David Lafontaine
One great way to explore all that The Village has to offer, and learn about its history, is to embark on one of two phone-guided tours: Riddle Routes and Urban Adventure Quest. It's super fun and a great way to get your steps in for the day.
9. Get a Bird’s Eye View
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Nothing will show you the Big Bear Lake region’s fall beauty quite like taking to the sky with helicopter tours from Helicopter Big Bear. The company offers several different flight paths, taking over a variety of points of interest, so it might be worth hopping about for multiple trips. Cameras are welcome, too.
10. Make Your Stay Luxurious
With all there is to do in and around Big Bear Lake, you might find yourself staying the weekend for Oktoberfest, or wanting to stay an entire week.
And your vacation wouldn’t feel like a real mountain getaway without a cozy cabin to come home to, a cabin so nice you might not ever want to leave.
Visit Big Bear in style when you book a vacation rental cabin with Midnight Moon Cabins. With a few sizes and amenities to choose from, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect cabin for you and your traveling crew.
Complete your fall mountain experience in Big Bear with a blazing fire, warm apple cider and an unforgettable cabin stay.
Midnight Moon Cabins offers an array of modern luxury dog friendly cabin rentals right in the heart of Big Bear Lake, and anywhere you might want to explore is just a short walk, bike or car ride away.
With this you’re ready for an amazing vacation to Bear Bear this fall! With a pumpkin spice latte in hand, enjoy the fresh air, great views, and friendly people at this SoCal hotspot.