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Big Bear: Hiking Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail

Posted in Family, and Outdoor Adventures

Taking in the beauty of the water

The summer temps were on the rise while Grandma and Grandpa were visiting, so we decided to escape the heat by heading up to Big Bear. The idea of cooler temps, water, and towering green trees was just too much to resist.

Having a picnic amongst the pines was relaxing

I packed us a picnic lunch as I knew that we’d want something to eat before we headed out on our hike. We weren’t sure exactly where we were going to go hiking, so we stopped by the visitor’s center to get some recommendations. It’s a good thing that we did as some of the roads were still closed for the winter.

Munchkin at the trail head getting ready to head out

When we told the park ranger that we were looking for a relaxing hike, he recommended heading over to the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail. It was a shorter hike through the forest that didn’t involve a lot of elevation changes or crazy terrain.

Daddy and daughter hiking the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail

As is normal, D and Munchkin took the lead. Their long legs tend to give them a bit of an advantage. I’m normally following behind them taking pictures. I couldn’t believe that I forgot my camera, so I just snapped a few pictures with my phone while we were hiking.

The Champion Lodgepole Pine was absolutely huge

Munchkin decided that she really likes being in the forest among the trees as it’s so peaceful. It was a relaxing hike through the forest, and it wasn’t long before we arrived at our original destination. We were all quite impressed with the size of the Champion Lodgepole. The picture certainly does not do it justice.

Munchkin acting like she's holding up the boulder

Of course, we had to make a few stops along the way as it’s hard to resist a large boulder cave.

Everyone squeeze together for a group picture

We also had to try to all squeeze together to get a group shot during the hike.

Beautiful wildlife refuge

After we visited the Champion Lodgepole, we took one of the side trails to see the wildlife reserve. We saw lots of ducks and birds along the way and in the water.

We enjoyed seeing the wildlife at the lake

We were able to walk around the lake. We saw an old log cabin and other homesteading type buildings. It’s always interesting how the fireplace stands long after the building has crumbled away. We would have loved to learn more about the buildings, but there weren’t any signs. We continued on our way around the lake and made our way back to our original trail.

Beautiful location for a picnic and a hike

We definitely want to come back up here to explore more of the trails. It’s such a beautiful location. Our exploration wasn’t over as D decided to take the scenic route back out. It confirmed the fact that I really need new shocks on my truck. lol! The views were stunning, so it was definitely worth the bumpy drive.

Hiking Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail and Bluff Lake Trail

Trail Facts:

  • The hike on the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail is roughly 1 mile round trip from the trailhead.
  • There is minimal elevation change.
  • The hike is considered an easy hike.
  • The trail is open year around as long as the roads are open.
  • Dogs are allowed on the trail, but a leash is required.

Note: Our hike was longer due to where we parked. The Champion Lodgepole Trail meets up with other trails. We hiked the Bluff Lake Trail in conjunction with the Champion Lodgepole Pine Trail. You can also hike the Siberia Creek Trail. For a longer, more strenuous hike, you can combine the Champion Lodgepole Trail with the Castle Rock Trail.


  1. We’ve never been there, but my husband’s always wanted to go. How’s the drive there, is it curvy? It definitely was warm here the past couple of days. We even had to use our air conditioner.

    June 21, 2016
    • There are crazy switchbacks all the way up and all the way down. My daughter hates the switchbacks, but says it’s worth it once we get there. 😉 We almost made it to June without the air conditioning which is pretty good. 🙂

      June 21, 2016
  2. Vuthy

    Hi, thanks for writing this up! I’m looking to visit in August and am considering this hike. You wrote that the hike was longer due to where you parked—is this because you didn’t take the 2N11 forest road all the way to the trailhead? I read another review where they stopped at the point 2N10 transformed into 2N11 because the latter was just too bumpy of a road. They ended up walking along the road to the trailhead instead.

    June 26, 2017
  3. Vuthy

    I also wanted to add, Semper Fi! One of my sisters, a brother-in-law, and an ex-brother-in-law are all Marines out of NC. Stay safe and thank you and your family for your service and sacrifice!

    June 26, 2017

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