Exploring Big Bear California Part 1:

Written / Photo's by: Tony Carricaburu

Vehicles and driver: 

   1. Tony Carricaburu   1990' YJ                                     

   2.Alex Parker 2000' TJ          

                 On January 14, 2000 Alex and I headed out to Big Bear California. in search for some tough black diamond trails. NOTE: Before you opt to make this trip, keep in mind that an Adventure Pass is required for use of forestry land. I know it what your thinking, "what, is he serious?" sorry to say yes i am although i dont agree with this need for an adventure pass we still have to obey the rules and regulations required. These passes can be purchased at the local forestry stations and only cost a minimal amount. (approx. $5 a day, i think) Anyways back to  the good stuff. We took Hwy 18 all the way up to Big Bear town were we stopped at a local gas station for fuel and were we packed a lunch, we gased up and we continued to a near by forestry station just outside of town on Hwy 18 were we got some free trail maps of the area. After taking a breif look at the maps and asking the ranger a couple question and advice we were on our way. The trail started in a small town called Fawnskin, just outside of Big Bear City. Sure enough we found the trail, a little tricky to find because it was tucked away at the end of a unmarked road but we found it. we continued on the trail for a while then turned off in a turn out area. This gave us an opportunity to air down, release sway bar disco's and plan a route on the map. Although the maps werent as detailed as we would have liked, they still gave a basic trail description. We regret not getting a detailed map from www.sidekickoffroad.com/maps.htm but we made do with what we had. This trip is part 1 of our Big Bear expeditions. We will continue to explore new trails and keep you posted. are you ready for the story?  

        Our Big Bear adventure is about to begin. We entered trail #3N14 in Fawnskin. For approximatly 1-2 miles of this trail was really easy, as it clearly stated on the map. Up ahead in a area known as Hanna Flats the trail split off in 2 directions. One which continued trail # 3N14 and didnt seem to have much difficult trails ahead and the other split off on to trail # 3N93 which according to the map was black diamond. Of course we decided to take 3N93. This is were the fun began. After a fairly large water crossing (shown in picture #1 We chose are line and headed up a moderatly difficult part in the trail with a couple rutts about 2' - 4' deep. (shown in Picture #2). After a little 3-wheel action we knew this trail was going to be fun. We continued on, and around every corner arose a new obsticle and challenge. Here we met 2 guys that decided they wanted to follow us and watch a little wheelin action. I figured we'd be doing most of the entertaining, but to my suprise they put on a show themselves. With ice and snow still on the trail opted for some good crashes, and trust me they didnt disappoint me. hehehe. anyways at the end of this trail was a nice rock garden approximatly 100 feet long and with boulders the size of refrigerators made for some nice rock crawling. Not causeing to much damage to our vehicles, i bottomed out my 8.8 rear diff once but had no problems, Alex also high centeres Mr. Dana 44 on the same rock section. nothing major though just a few scares. From here the trail continued on to trail # 3N16 which on the map was clearly a intermediate trail, with our goal to find challenging terrain we continued on to Crab Flats were we found some moderatly difficult terrain on trail # 3N34, towards the end of this trail is a popular local obsticle known as "Ball-Buster" this hill can be difficult depending on the season. But wasnt bad when we passes threw it. This trail lead down to the well known Deep Creek, The water wasnt very deep at this time of the season probably around two or two and a half feet deep. From here the trail gets easy again well they mark it as Intermediate. From here we took Trail #2N26Y which turns into a road called Hook Creek Rd. This road will take you into a small town called Cedar Glen where you can get gas if needed at the local 76 station.

Note: Part 1 of Exploring Big Bear was a enjoyable trip but took approximatly eight hours of continuos crawling to complete in one day, we were unaware of the length and would highly recommend you make this a 2-day trip. There are nice campgrounds at Crab Flats you might want to consider.


 Vehicle Requirements:

1. Short wheel base vehicle (Fullsize arent recommended)

2. Moderate lift approx. 3"-4" (suspension)

3. 32" or larger tires (preferably mud terrain)

4. Be prepared to have some rubbing or bottoming out in certain places unless proper lines are taken. NOTE: This all depends on the season and or wheather conditions.

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BIG BEAR TRAIL MAPS I scanned (provided San Beranrdino County Forest Service):  


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