Big Bear | CA
Level: Easy to Difficult
Length: 14+ miles roundtrip
Best time to go: March to November
Where to park: Champion Lodgepole Pine
Hiking has definitely been a recurring theme for me this summer and I just can’t seem to get enough. With so many incredible trails in California, it’s hard not to feel the urge to explore them all! After all, many of them boast serene nature, spectacular views and adventurous twists and turns. There are a network of trails in the Big Bear area but for this particular hike, my friends and I chose to explore the Siberia Creek Trail. At the bottom, awaits Bear Creek drainage and the Siberia Creek Campground for those brave enough to get there.
I would recommend this trail to anyone who is up for some scenic landscape and a great workout. Maintenance on the path has not been maintained for some time so it can get a little hairy in some parts but it’s gorgeous nonetheless. Before you decide to venture off into the Siberian Creek Trail, here are some things you should know, just for good measure.
1. The trail is 7 miles one way. This means if you’re adamant about reaching the creek, you should be prepared for a strenuous day of hiking, especially back uphill. Bring plenty of water, nutritious snacks and some bug spray (it gets buggier the lower you descend). Also, be sure to notify someone of where you will be and when you plan on returning. It can help to leave that information, along with phone number of an emergency contact on your dashboard as well.
2. This trail is not maintained by the national forest service which means – be aware that some parts of the trail have been wiped out or overgrown. There are many steep cliffs and narrow pathways as well as large bramble-like bushes.
3. My hiking buddy, who also happens to be an exquisite chef, taught me a little something about foraging in this part of the forest. Although there is not much edible (or appetizing) plant life in this particular area, we did stumble across some wild redcurrant berries. If you see these on your trek, feel free to treat yourself to a deliciously tart afternoon snack, but you must absolutely be certain they are redcurrant berries and keep an eye out for hungry bears who may also feel up for a nibble.
*Don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
4. Because there is a 3,000 foot elevation change throughout this hike and temperamental weather, it’s best to go into this trek with the appropriate gear. Loose rocks and unkempt paths can lead to easy injuries so although hiking boots may not be 100% necessary, I wouldn’t want to do it without mine.
Additionally, a rain jacket is good to have if you don’t like getting caught up in an afternoon shower. We got sprinkled on and it felt quite rejuvenating, however, if you plan on bringing any camera equipment along, that rain jacket could be what saves your electronics from any water damage.
5. Surprisingly, pine trees and cones are also edible and can be prepared in a few different ways from pine needle tea (high in vitamin C), to eating the pine seeds raw or roasted, frying or boiling pine tree bark or making pine flour from the small male pine cones. Great to know in case a survival situation should arise. Who knew pine trees were so culinarily diverse!
6. The Siberian Creek trail isn’t just for hikers, you just might run into bikers, horseback riders and dogs, too. And for my yogi’s out there, the trail offers a couple great pitstops for stretching, yoga and meditation as well.
7. If you happen to be out on an unclouded day, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to see some pretty awesome panoramas of Saddleback Mountain and Mount Palomar. Rumor has it you can even see the ocean on really clear days, but that may be a little far fetched. Either way, the landscape here is lush and the views are breathtaking.