your paddlesports destination

Big Bear Lake in California

Trip Overview

Big Bear Lake is a four season resort community surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest, located 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. During the winter it has become a well known winter playground, but in the summer, Big Bear Lake is a beautiful mountain lake resort.

At 7000 feet, and located in Southern Calif., there is no better place for consistent sunshine. So much sun, in fact, that the University of Michigan has a solar observatory located on the lake.

The paddling is wonderful. With approximately 22 miles of shoreline, it offers a few distinct areas to paddle. Grout Bay is shallow and normally less busy with power boat traffic. Boulder Bay is another picturesque destination for paddlers. A little more busy, but worth the visit.

A paddle around the lake will take you a better part of the day, but it's a nice challenge for the more advanced paddler in a touring kayak. If you start in Grout Bay, you can have lunch at B's Boathouse, which is about half way around the lake, then complete the journey with a full belly! The lake can get windy and choppy in the afternoons, so plan your paddle accordingly.

The kayak fisherman will find plenty of trout, and some feisty Bass. The bass fishing is great from a kayak, allowing quiet access to some coves that are a bit challenging to access via power boat.


There are many great resorts in Big Bear Lake. The Marina Resort offers lake front rooms and an excellent beach to launch a kayak. The Frontier Lodge offers private cabins as well as rooms, and has a private beach that you can launch from. Either resort is a winner.


There is a lake permit required for each boat, as well as a Quagga Mussel inspection required. See here: ( Please make sure you respect these laws. The Quagga Mussel would devastate the lake and local economy if the lake were to get infected.


From Los Angeles and Orange Counties:

Interstate 10 East to 210 North/West exit in Redlands. Follow Interstate 210 North to Highway 330, then to Highway 18. Follow signs to Big Bear Lake.


Contact Big Bear Paddling for more information: 909-366-8527. They are a kayak and canoe rental service on Big Bear Lake that have a wealth of knowledge about the lake and the area.

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip