California Highway 18 is familiar to many as the route to Big Bear Lake and ski resorts. The road climbs sharply out of the valley and crests the San Bernardino Valley, where it traces the highland rim and grants a bird's-eye view of Inland Empire cities. The full route is 100 miles from Arrowhead to Victorville, but the 35 miles from the valley floor to Big Bear Lake are what really earns the name "Rim of the World Highway."
Reaching more than 7,000 feet elevation, the mountain air is a fresh respite from heat in the summer and a snowy retreat in the winter. The road can have traffic at any time of year, so driving it during very early or very late hours is the best time to avoid crowds and enjoy the most dramatically illuminated vistas.
To extend the journey, you can explore other destinations near the road. Pause to take pictures at Red Rock Scenic Overlook and picnic at Baylis Park. A short side trip from the highway takes you to Lake Arrowhead, a crisp lake surrounded by evergreens boardwalks. An additional drive and hike from here will get you to the secluded swimming holes of Deep Creek. If you remain on the highway toward Big Bear, pull over at Lake View Point for a scenic overlook of Big Bear Lake and mountains near the high point of the road. Additionally, you can venture up Keller Peak Road to find peaceful camping at the Yellow Post Sites, hiking in Children's Forest, and even more commanding views from the Keller Peak Fire Lookout Tower.