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Big Bear Lake

Friday, May 6, 2022

Other Names

Mountain Top Ranger District, San Bernardino National Forest, Cactus Flats, Smart Spring, Canyon Spring, Squirrel Spring, Granite Spring, Arrasire Creek

Last Known StatusOpen

This high desert area offers about six miles of ATV trails and about 62 miles of surrounding 4x4 trails. Most of the trails are dusty with loose rocks however the Joshua Tree trail is a smooth, fast and narrow twisty with many berms.

The main staging area is huge and amenities include a loading ramp, vault toilets and informational kiosk with trail maps. Camping is permitted but there is no water or shade so come prepared.

An Adventure Pass is required to camp or ride here which must be obtained prior to arrival since there is no self pay station. The pass can be purchased online, at nearby Lucerne Valley Market or at the local ranger stations.

Trail Map... Nearby ATV Trails...


Permit RequiredYesCA OHMVR stickers required
Dates OpenYear-RoundCA OHMVR red sticker vehicles permitted from 10/1 to 4/30
Other ATV Stickers AcceptedYesResidents of any state not listed must purchase a Nonresident OHV Use Permit. (AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, IA, ID, IN, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, ND, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, TX, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY)
Spark ArrestorYesA spark arresting exhaust silencer or end cap is required for all vehicles.
Noise LimitYes (96 dB)CA OHMVR noise limits apply (1985/older limit 101 dB, 1986/newer limit 96 dB)
Whip FlagsNot Required
Maximum Vehicle WidthYes (50 inches)has entrance gate or posts
Allow Dirt Bikes, Trail Bikes and Motorcycles Motorcycles & Dirt BikesPermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
Allow All Terrain Vehicles / Quads / Four Wheelers ATVsPermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
(maximum width 50 inches)
Allow Utility Terrain Vehicles, Side by Sides (SXS), RZR UTV & SXSPermittedCA OHMVR stickers required
(maximum width 50 inches)
Allow 4x4 Jeeps, SUVs and 4 x 4 Trucks with License Plates SUVs & Jeeps (registered)Some Areaspermitted on surrounding 4x4 roads
Dune Buggy & Sand Rail
4x4 (unregistered)
Some AreasCA OHMVR stickers required
(maximum width 50 inches)
permitted on surrounding 4x4 roads
2 Stroke EnginesCertain TimesCA OHMVR restrictions apply
MX Helmet RequiredYeshelmets required by state law
Camping / Overnight RV Parking CampingNo Restriction(camp anywhere)
Campfire Restrictions CampfiresProhibitedboth wood and charcoal campfires are prohibited
Night RidingUnknown
Trail BlazingProhibitedkeep vehicle on trail
AlcoholNo Restriction
Rule EnforcementFew/Periodic


Approx Size1,920 acres (3 sq mi)
Miles Of Trail68
Climate TypeForest
Elevation6100 to 6400 ft.
Trail MaintenanceMarked, Rated, Heavily Maintained
Loose DirtThis trail has some loose dirt.Some
Hard PackThe trail has mostly hard pack terrain.Mostly
SandThis trail has no sandy areas.None
MudThe trail has little mud after it rains.Little
DustThe trail has little dust on typical days.Little
RocksThis trail has some rocks.Some
TreesThe trail has some trees.Some
Steep HillsThis trail has few steep hills.Few
Water CrossingsThe trail has no water crossings.None
Small JumpsThis trail has few small jumps.Few
Large JumpsThis trail has no large jumps.None
BermsThe trail has some berms.Some
Sand/Gravel PitsThis national forest has no sand or gravel pits.None
Single TrackThis national forest has no single track trails.None
RoadsThis national forest has few roads.Few
IntersectionsThis trail has few intersections.Few
Rider TrafficThe national forest has few rider traffic on typical days.Few
ShadeThis national forest has some shaded areas.Some
Ranges/GunfireThis national forest has no shooting ranges or gunfire.None
HazardsThis trail has few hazards.Few(hazards not marked)
Easy Terrain NoviceThis trail has some beginner terrain.Some
Moderate Terrain AmateurThis trail has mostly intermediate level terrain.Mostly
Difficult Terrain ExpertThis trail has little expert terrain.Little


AreaMotorized Trails
LandNational Forest


Gasoline Gasoline5-20 Miles (SW)Shell (909) 866-8037
Diesel Diesel5-20 Miles (SW)Shell (909) 866-8037
Potable Water Water5-20 Miles (SW)Big Bear Lake
RV Hookups RV Hookup5-20 Miles (SW)Holloway's Marina and RV Park (909) 866-5706
RV Dump Station RV Disposal5-20 Miles (SW)Holloway's Marina and RV Park (909) 866-5706
Primitive Camping Campground5-20 Miles (NW)Big Pine Flat Campground (909) 866-3437
Convenience Store Conv Store5-20 Miles (SW)Stater Brothers Market (909) 866-5211


EntryYes ($5.00 per vehicle)
Adventure Pass Fee - $5/day or $30/year


Prosnice staging area, decent scenery
Conshighway is tight and windy, and the access road is long and rocky, but there are not enough trails to make the trip worthwile, RVs not recomended, no shade at staging
Our RatingRatingGood
Recommended StayFull Day
Comments(Scroll Down For Rider Reviews & Comments)


Nearest CityBig Bear City, CA
AddressSmarts Ranch Road, Lucerne Valley, CA 92356
Go Back To California List
Trail MapGo To Trail Map
From: Big Bear City, CA
1) Take SR-18 East about 8 miles
2) Turn right on FS-3N03, continue 1.25 miles
3) Turn right at fork on FS-3N07Y, continue .2 miles
4) Stage anywhere.


Contact InfoSan Bernardino National Forest - Big Bear Ranger Station
41397 North Shore Drive
Fawnskin, CA 92333
(909) 382-2790
Contact InfoEnjoy the Mountain Off Road Adventures
29121 Hook Creek Road
Cedar Glen, CA 92321
(844) 386-6691
CommentGuided OHV tours and rentals.


Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Big Bear Lake Trail

The vast majority of the trails are rocky, but not enough to take the fun out of it.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Woman on CRF150 wearing green and black Fox Racing motocross gear going through sandy trail with deep berms.

The Joshua Tree trail is smooth and fast, with countless turns like this.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Man on Honda CRF250 going through sandy section of trail.

Even advanced riders will have a blast going through the Joshua Tree loop.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

A scenic view of the San Bernardino Mountains and Mojave Desert.

From the trail you can see the San Bernardino Mountains. The dry valley in this photo is the Mojave Desert.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

A rocky section of trail for ATVs, UTVs and motorcycles.

This is a pretty typical piece of trail here.  You can't beat the scenery.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Young woman on Honda CRF150 doing doughnuts in play area.

The staging area is huge, with plenty of room to play around.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

A sandy section of trail surrounded by pine and joshua trees.

The deep berms and smooth turns of the Joshua Tree trail make it worth checking out, even if you are an expert rider.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda CRF-150 going up sandy ATV trail through the woods.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Man on Honda CRF250 dirt bike going through rocky ATV trail.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Forest Service carsonite trail marker with black diamond symbol.

The black diamond trails are actually fairly tame...  Some chunk, a few sharp drops, but nothing scary.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

CRF250 dirt bike going up rocky ATV trail.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Man wearing black and red motorcoss jersey on Honda CRF250 navigating rocky ATV trail.

Most of the trails look like this - hardpacked with some loose chunk rock and occasional sand. Good place for ATVs and side by sides.


Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda CRF250 going down 4x4 trail.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Suzuki and Honda dirt bikes riding around in flat open area.

The Cactus Flats Staging Area has plenty of turnaround room for big trailers, plus plenty of space for beginners.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Large parking area with vault toilets and informational kiosk.

The main staging area is huge, with various play areas for all skill levels.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Large open staging area with side trails.

The hills surrounding the staging area have various tracks and play loops.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda four-stoke dirt bike going through sandy berm on an ATV trail.

The Joshua Tree loop has nice flow with moderate to deep berms. Joshua and pine trees, various scrub brush and the occasional cholla cactus line the trail.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda CRF Trail Bike at Big Bear Lake Trail


Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Rear view of Honda four stroke dirt bike going through rocky section of trail.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Scenic view of Big Bear Lake Trail

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

A trail at Big Bear Lake Trail

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Scenic view of hardpacked ATV surrounded by high desert vegetation.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda CRF Motorbike at Big Bear Lake Trail

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda CRF-150 going down rocky 4x4 hill.

Most of the trails have slight to moderate elevation changes but nothing too steep.


Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Honda CRF150 going down sandy 4x4 trail .

Some of the trails are wide and sandy.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

OHV trail surrounded by Joshua trees.

The high desert scenery here is really unique. A large portion of the trails are surrounded by Joshua trees and yucca shrubs.

Big Bear Lake Trail Photo

Man exiting amatuer ATV trail on Honda CRF250.

The trails are marked and rated.

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