In Big Bear Lake
Story and photos by Greg Aragon
verybody knows that Big Bear Lake is a wonderland in winter, perfect
for skiing, snowboarding, memorable Alpine vistas and more. But the
mountain paradise is equally fantastic in fall, when leaves change colors,
fish are biting, mountains trails beckon, and beer flows from large
A friend and I recently escaped to the 7,000-ft-high
city for a day and night of adventure and discovery.
Big Bear Lake offers fabulous fun in fall
Our getaway began at Creek Runners Lodge, where we checked
into a romantic room with a full kitchen, a tub and shower, a comfy
king bed and a huge, inviting Jacuzzi in the middle of the room. Located
across from the lake and a 10 minute walk to downtown, the lodge is
a great place to stay while exploring the area.
Creek Runners Lodge is a romantic retreat in the
After unpacking and testing the spa tub, we took the
Scenic Sky Chair at Snow Summit to the top of Big Bear mountain. This
breathtaking, mile-long journey takes guests on ski lift chairs up to
an 8,200-ft oasis of hiking and mountain biking trails, while offering
incredible aerial views of the San Bernardino National Forest and Big
Bear Lake. At the top of the mountain, we enjoyed a homemade BBQ lunch
of Alaskan salmon, an Angus hamburger, and salad on the outside deck
at View Haus restaurant.
We then hiked the Skyline Trail, which opened last year.
Boasting awesome views of Mt. San Gorgonio and Big Bear Lake, this moderately
difficult trek passes through pine and oak forests filled with wild
life and rare plants. The trail is also popular with mountain bikers.
In fact, Big Bear was put on the map in the 1990s as a mountain biking
Mecca when it hosted national mountain bike races including National
Off-Road Bicycle Association (NORBA) National Championship Series.
The Scenic Sky Chair takes visitors 8,200 ft up
to an oasis of hiking and mountain biking trails, while offering incredible
aerial views of the San Bernardino
Big Bears network of more than 100 miles of trails
has been ridden by both professional riders and recreational weekend
warriors who return for all levels of fun. Mountain bike enthusiasts
appreciated the great selection of single track trails. Cross country
bikers also love the trails. One of the most popular is Skyline Ridge
(2N10), which also passes through Snow Summit Ski Resort.
Big Bear has become renowned for great mountain
After hiking we took the Scenic Sky Chair down the mountain
and headed back to Creek Runners Lodge to rest before having an authentic
and delicious Indian and Nepalese inspired dinner at The
Himalayan. Featuring authentic and delicious Indian and Nepalese
food from Nepal and Tibet to the North of India, the restaurant was
packed with locals when we sat down by the window.
Our meal was highlighted by Chicken Vindaloo with boneless
chicken in a tasty Himalayan-styled sauce made from tomatoes, potatoes,
onions, garlic, ginger, and lime juice; and lamb curry with boneless
lamb in a succulent garlic, onion and ginger sauce.
Back at Creek Runners Lodge we soaked in our in-room
Jacuzzi and sipped champagne. In the morning we climbed a tree with
Tree Rope Climbing Tours (ATRCT). This unique outdoor adventure
gives visitors a chance to be a monkey and scale trees in a pine forest.
Designed for kids of all ages over 12, the tour begins with an orientation
led by a certified tour guide who explains safety, the proper way to
climb, and how to use the provided climbing gear.
Action Tree Rope Climbing Tours gives kids of all
ages a chance scale trees
in a pine forest.
Once we had our helmets, saddles and ropes in order
we began to scale the towering pine trees to a height of 45 ft, before
repelling down like navy seals. In addition to climbing trees, guests
on the three-hour excursion also learn facts about tree biology and
Fall in Big Bear is also a great in time for admiring
fall colors at places like Aspen Grove, where numerous local trees,
including the glowing aspen, transform from flourishing
greens to spectacular hues of gold, ambers and yellows; and for sipping
beer during the town's popular Oktoberfest celebrations.
The spirit of Bavaria
comes to life in Big Bear Lake for seven consecutive weekends starting
Saturday, September 13 and ending October 25, 2014. Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest
prides itself as the closest thing to the original celebration in Munich,
Germany. Big Bear Lake is situated in an Alpine environment with evergreens
trees, mountain vistas, and a town-square village that reflects the
scenery and heritage of the Bavarian Alps of Germany.
Oktoberfest in Big Bear Lake brings spirit of Bavaria
to life with German beer, concerts, food, costumes and more (photo
courtesy of Big Bear Lake)
Big Bear Lake Oktoberfest serves Warsteiner and Spaten
beer (imported from Germany), dance troupes perform customary dances,
the bratwurst is from a German butcher in Los Angeles, and fresh apple
strudel is delivered weekly from a German bakery in Downey!
Fun competitions and contests at Oktoberfest include
log sawing, stein carrying, shoot & yodel, a version of beer pong,
sausage eating, stein holding, and limbo dancing. Childrens fun
and games include pretzel eating contests, kiddy mug holding matches
and Midway carnival-style games. The Chicken Dance is the definitive
favorite dance at Oktoberfest and always amusing. Every weekend expect
to see a huge dance floor filled with hundreds of revelers clucking
away to the Chicken Dance.
For more information on Big Bear Lake, Snow Summit,
and on staying at Creek Runners Lodge, visit: www.bigbear.com
or call 800.424.4232.
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