For a long time, if you wanted to hike the pine-topped ridge of Big Bear (up in the Los Angeles forest; it’s a beaut), you’d find yourself on a fireroad staring at trucks. No view. Just trucks.
That time has passed. Say hello to Skyline: eight miles of pure backcountry splendor, now open to the public.
Excavated and compacted by the Big Bear Valley Trail Foundation, a nonprofit run by sap-happy outdoorsmen, the Skyline Trail was a fire-break created during the Old Fire of 2003.
It’s now hikeable and bikeable. And pretty damn breathtaking.
The trail starts at the top of US Forest Service Road 2N10 (get an Adventure Pass to park). The Big Bear Valley ski lift — you might know it as the Skylift — also leads to the trail. (Ed. note: If you need a bike, visit Bear Valley Bikes. Helpful staff, solid selection.)
The first four miles of Skyline are flat and about 300 feet wide, making it great for kids and novices. That’s Lake Arrowhead to your right.
The trail then narrows to sharp switchbacks, inclines, declines and rock outcroppings. It gets technical, so if you’re on a bike you’re unfamiliar with, take it slow.
Take a break at Grandview Point to enjoy vistas of the Santa Ana River Valley and Old Greyback, SoCal’s tallest peak.
To get back to town, take Pine Knot Trail for a beastly downhill ride, or go back the way you came.
Nota bene: The BBVTF would like to add eight more miles to the Skyline, turning it into a loop. Here’s how you can help.