“Hey Jordan, do you want to go for a hike with me in Big Bear?” I responded with merely a grin. Jen had been telling me about one of her favorite Big Bear trails for some time. As soon as time permitted, I jumped at the chance to join her up the mountain. Not only is she an avid snowboarder in the winter, Jen has a second home in Big Bear and spends her summers hiking and biking when not shooting weddings. If you need wedding or engagement photos, hit her up here.
After a quick stop at Leroy’s in town, we made our way toward 2N10, where many of the US Cup Mountain Bike Races are held. 2N10 is a fire road that is mostly flat (you can drive a Civic down most of it but you may not want to). Following the 2N10 to the 2N11 will get you to a roundabout parking area and the start of Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail that leads into Siberia Creek.
Immediately from the parking area, the trail gets narrow and crosses a small bridge. One of many to follow.
Views like this are to be expected along the entire journey. If you hate tall trees, you best stay at home.
As you make your way to the end of Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail, stay alert for the Siberia Creek Trail 1W04 signpost. After stopping to checkout the Champion, we headed towards Bear Creek.
Less than a mile in, you will come to the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail telling you all about the history of the worlds oldest living pine tree. The tree you are about to see below stands 110 feet tall and has been living for over 440 years. Respect. Think of all the fires we’ve had in this area over just our lifetime, this guy made it.
The trunk of this tree is enormous! I would have gone up and hugged the tree if it wasn’t fenced off. I really wanted to, but rules are rules.
There he is in all his glory. Standing dead center, the trunk of the tree splits in two near the top, recognized by the blue sky peeking through the middle. Horrible views, right?
Continuing down Siberia Creek Trail, Jen found a great spot for a snack break.
Now here is something you don’t see everyday. You have certainly seen a cut down tree before, but how many dating back to the Civil War? Someone spent some serious time counting the age rings and wrote in various historic dates. We spotted, World War I, WWII and many more. Awesome! (I don’t support graffiti but I do love history)
Was this flower blossoming or are those tiny caterpillars? You decide.
The entire trail is amazing to look at and relatively flat for the first mile. Don’t forget you are hiking at 7,900 feet. Keep that in mind and plan ahead.
This area and many of the open valleys that are normally filled with water were merely moist to the touch. Let’s hope Big Bear gets a few good rainfalls this summer. We love our mountains lush and green!
Although we knocked several times, we could not find any Keebler Elves at home. We could have really used come cookies.
Several of these man-made bridges are scattered throughout the trail. They add that extra photographic touch, don’t you think?
Just before getting into the rocky section of our hike, we spotted this small, open valley with a little teepee during early construction.
Looking across the ridge we finally made it to Gunsight Point. Its namesake was given for the two diamond-shaped rocks forming a narrow channel, as if they are letting the mountain take aim at passing hikers.
This sign reads, “Trail Not Maintained”. From here on out please exercise caution and common sense when hiking. Honestly, you should be already. Up to this point, the trail would be great for cycling. I hate to admit it but I was too busy focusing on the trail to snap any photos ahead. A few miles past this sign you will reach Bear Creek. The trail becomes very loose and rocky, as well as dropping in elevation quite a bit. We continued on for about a mile before heading back for the day. My double-fail of the day was not turning my Garmin GPS watch on until we started back for the car. Our return trip marked roughly 3.2 miles and 1733 feet of elevation gain. I would say total roundtrip elevation would be around the 2500 mark.
We had a great day on the mountain and I look forward to heading back and hiking all the way to Bear Creek. Next time, my watch will be turned on and I won’t leave my hiking poles in the car. Plan for a good 3-4 hours of hiking and bring plenty of hydration and food if you go.
Directions from Fawnskin/Big Bear Lake, CA: Travel west on Highway 18 and turn east on Hwy. 38. From there you turn right (south) onto Mill Creek Road (Forest Road 2N10). Follow Mill Creek Road for 4.5 miles and turn right (east) onto 2N11 and continue for 1 mile to the trailhead.
Download the All Trails APP and grab this link: http://alltrails.com/trail/us/california/siberia-creek-trail
Look for more hikes soon!