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Bertha Peak Hike

Big Bear Lake, San Bernardino National Forest

San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, California

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Bertha Peak Hike

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  • Vault toilet facility and picnic area at the trailhead for the Cougar Crest Trail.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Cougar Crest Trailhead.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Old prospect foundation and remains just east of the Cougar Crest Trail.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) along the Cougar Crest Trail.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Cougar Crest Trail en route to Bertha Peak.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Unidentified species (help us identify it by providing feedback) along the Cougar Crest Trail en route to Bertha Peak.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • First view of Big Bear Lake and San Bernardino Peak (10,649 ft) on the Cougar Crest Trail.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Second bench along the Cougar Crest Trail at roughly 1.7 miles.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Unidentified penstemon species (help us identify it by providing feedback) along the Cougar Crest Trail en route to Bertha Peak.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis) along the Cougar Crest Trail.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Cougar Crest Trail intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Turnoff from the PCT to Bertha Peak summit via this four-wheel drive road.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Communication facility at the summit of Bertha Peak (8,201 ft).- Bertha Peak Hike
  • View southwest to Big Bear Lake from the summit of Bertha Peak (8,201 ft).- Bertha Peak Hike
  • View north to Holcomb Valley and the strip mines near Furnace Canyon.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • View south to Snow Summit Ski Resort and San Gorgonio Mountain (11,502 ft) from the summit of Bertha Peak.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • American white pelicans (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) high above Big Bear Lake.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • View west to the San Gabriel Mountains with Mount San Antonio (Mout Baldy, 10,064 ft) at right.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • Big Bear Lake from the summit of Bertha Peak.- Bertha Peak Hike
  • The town of Big Bear Lake from Bertha Peak's summit.- Bertha Peak Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Panoramic views of Big Bear Lake and surrounding the San Bernardino Mountains.
Cons: 
Very heavily used during summer weekends. Sun exposure during the summer.
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Region:
San Gabriel + San Bernardino Mountains, CA
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,320.00 ft (402.34 m)
Parking Pass: 
California Adventure Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Fall
Suitable for:
Hiking, Horseback
Total Distance: 
7.90 mi (12.71 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
6,880.00 ft (2,097.02 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Bertha Peak is a true high point overlooking Big Bear Lake and the surrounding mountains. To hike to to top is not an easy endeavor, but amazing panoramic views and a great workout are the rewards for taking it on.

This hike begins as Cougar Crest Trail, and then takes an extension along the Pacific Crest Trail and a gravel service road to the top of Bertha Peak. The full out and back is nearly 8 miles and climbs more than 1,000 feet of elevation. Come prepared with good shoes, plenty of water and snacks, and a can-do attitude.

There are a few benches for rest stops along Cougar Crest, and views from this trail are good the whole way. If the incline of the first 2 miles feels manageable, consider pressing on to Bertha Peak. You will face the steepest climb in the final 0.8 miles of trail, but conquering it will earn you the best vista to be had from this side of Big Bear.

You can see almost all of the lake, the town, and the peaks beyond. See if you can pick out and name all the prominent features. Snow Summit Ski Resort and Sugarloaf Mountain form the near range of hills. San Gorgonio Mountain rises beyond these, claiming the highest point in Southern California. Looking the the west, you can see the San Gabriel Mountains and Mount San Antonio, which are near Los Angeles.

The summit can be windy and cold, especially during the early season, so be prepared with extra layers if you want to linger on top to take it all in. Return to the car the same way you came, and then reward yourself with a relaxing evening in Big Bear.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(25 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(43 within a 30 mile radius)

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