Big Bear Lake

Big Bear refers to the region of Big Bear Valley which includes Big Bear Lake, Big Bear City, Fawnskin, Sugarloaf, and other nearby towns. The lakes in the area include Baldwin Lake, Erwin Lake, and Lake Williams. The location of the area lead to popular past times like Big bear camping, skiing, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

The area got its name when discovered by then mayor of little Los Angeles, Benjamin Wilson. During a chase, he rode high into the Santa Ana Canyon of San Bernadino. There, Wilson and his team found a storylike village with abundant plants and wildlife–particularly grizzly bears. For this reason, the area came to be called Big Bear Valley.

While it is true that Big Bear was indeed full of large grizzlies in the past, they were eventually eradicated from the area by hunting. Now, black bears reside in the valley, but the last known grizzly was seen there in 1906.

This valley was originally inhabited by the Serrano Native American tribe. These peoples hunted local wildlife, but they held the grizzly bear in high esteem; so high, in fact that they did not eat the animal’s meat or wear its fur. These people were a peaceful and gentle tribe. There is a museum exhibit in Big Bear that displays some artifacts found in the area. They had settlements called Yucaipa and Cucamonga, which are recalled in towns near the area today.