Cougar Crest Trail
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.
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.
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.
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