Cougar Crest Trail

4 reviews #36 hike out of 389 in
6.9 mi
Distance
3 hrs 40 min
Time
terrain
1,299 ft
Elev Gain

Overview

This is a moderate out and back trail in San Bernardino National Forest. This is a pleasant out and back hike that is family friendly. I did this with my parents who are in their 60s and this trail is easily reached from downtown Big Bear. This trail can comfortably be done in August without overheating, you have some shaded segments throughout and nice spots for breakout picnics.

Getting Started

There is a small parking lot at the trailhead, but does fill up quickly. There were vehicles parked along side of the road as well. Not sure if permitted, but they were there. I went into the parking lot that was full, but made one loop and there was a group leaving so I was able to park there. As I was getting ready for the hike there were several other vehicles that left. So if you are not in a hurry you can wait a bit and you should be able to park there during the week. On the weekends the ranger told me it gets very full. Normally you could also park at the Big Bear Discovery Center until 6pm, but they have been closed since November of last year for renovations and have not reopened as of yet so that parking lot is closed. You will need to display an adventure pass to park anywhere there. The trailhead is easily viewable from the parking lot and only a matter of feet from you car. There is a restroom at the trailhead if needed.

Taking Children

I felt the hike was fairly easy to do with children. My kids 6 and 8 enjoyed the hike and did well on it. Just make sure to keep them hydrated and take snacks and a lunch if you plan to go all the way up. The trail is very well maintained and no hazards for little ones. Highly recommend as a family hike. Once you hit the PCT to Bertha Peak then the climb becomes a bit more challenging. My kids did not go that far, only I did. That may have been a bit too much for them, I think. We started late when the sun was hottest and directly above us.


    Rate this Hike

    user_profile stars
    1 month, 2 weeks ago
    Easy hike with gradual climb up until you hit the PCT. Soon after you begin a more aggressive climb to Bertha Peak. At that point I would say it becomes a moderate trail due to the climb. Not much shade throughout the trail. Wear plenty of sunscreen and go earlier during the day or later in the afternoon if you go during summer months. It was 82* the day I went. Temperature was fine, but the sun felt more intense. Take plenty of water if going to Bertha Peak, you will need it if you dehydrate easily like I do. My wife and kids, 6 and 8, climbed up with me until PCT and I continued on by myself after that to Bertha Peak. Met up with them on my way back down. Not many people on the trail that day, Friday. Almost everyone was wearing a face mask or would put one on as we approached. The trail was clean. Some rock and tree roots along the way, but overall very well maintained. Beautiful views from up top of Big Bear and surrounding areas. There are places along the trail to stop and have lunch. There are a few benches along the way to sit and take in the views as well. Overall great hike.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    11 months, 4 weeks ago
    This hike is erroneously classified as "Difficult". It is actually quite easy with a nice moderate elevation gain. Only the last .75 miles is a bit harder on the dirt road to Bertha Peak.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 2 months ago
    One of my favorite hikes of all time. Relatively easy grade for most of the hike with a steep section at the last half mile or so.
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

    user_profile
    1 year, 1 month ago
    ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


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