How would you like to escape the hustle and bustle of LA for a day trip and even an overnight stay in one of the most beautiful natural splendors in the country? You leave Holiday Inn Burbank with the weather warm and dry. By the time you enter San Bernardino National Forest, you have entered the first of many microclimates that makes the area special. At the base of a mountain, you might experience clear skies and a light breeze. On your way to the top of the tallest peak, you can encounter fog and snow during several months of the year.
The weather intrigues our guests, but it’s the spectacular views and no shortage of things to do that keep them going back to San Bernardino National Forest.
Overview of San Bernardino National Forest
Covering more than 800,000 acres, San Bernardino National Forest encompasses two primary geographical districts. The San Bernardino Mountains are the first range you encounter if you enter the federally operated park from the east. On the western side of the national forest, you pass through the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains. Elevations begin at around 2,000 feet at the western entrance and more than 11,000 feet near popular Big Bear Lake. The vast forest includes five distinct wilderness areas that offer a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Perhaps no other region in Southern California offers more recreational activities than the number of fun recreational activities available inside the national forest. Pack a lunch and start on a trail that matches your time constraints and physical conditioning. Avid backpackers who want a challenge should consider walking a stretch of the renowned Pacific Crest Trail. The diversity of recreational opportunities include cycling, horseback riding, and taking off-road vehicles through marked areas of the wilderness. Activities, such as alpine and cross-country skiing, benefit from dozens of inches of snowfall each winter.
Big Bear Lake
Considered one of the best locations in San Bernardino National Forest to view wildlife, the Stanfield Cut-off located at the causeway crossing the eastern section of Big Bear Lake teems with animals such as coyotes, mule deer, black bears, and bighorn sheep. Smaller mammals that include skunks, beavers, and chipmunks scamper along the forest floor. Anglers can expect to find the lake to be full of delicious rainbow trout, as forest management stocks the lake three times per year. Myriad bird species, some of which migrate to the area during spring and summer, keep birdwatchers busy.
San Bernardino National Forest is the ideal drive-through experience. Two spectacular drives are important sections of the National Scenic Byway System. Both routes present numerous breathtaking views that you take in from inside your car or outdoors at one of the many visitor parks and view stations. Interpretive panels set up along both routes alert you to the possibility of encountering a certain species of wildlife. We encourage you to check for road conditions before you leave Holiday Inn Burbank.
From our hotel, get on Interstate 210 and head east until you reach Interstate 15. Take the 15 north and pay attention to signs welcoming you to San Bernardino National Forest.