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If you are looking to get off the beaten trail and explore a hidden forest area of the local San Bernardino mountains, then Mill Creek Road Hiking trail is for you! Located just 5 minutes from Boulder Bay in Big Bear Lake, the trail features scenic forest wilderness and a well-maintained path.

We discovered this hiking area due to the fact that Gray’s Peak Hiking Trail in Big Bear was closed until April 1st to protect the Bald Eagle. Mill Creek Road Hiking Trail in Big Bear is great for those winter months – when snow isn’t too heavy and you’re looking for an easy-to-moderate hike in the brisk mountain air. We say “moderate” due to the fact that the mountain air is thinner, so even though the terrain is fairly flat, it will make you work harder than normal!


Hiking in the snow? Who would have thought! This was the first “snow hiking” adventure for the Go Hike It! Team and we enjoyed every moment! Even though there was plenty of snow on the ground, we were still able to wear tank tops and shorts (we suggest bringing a jacket too, as it can be quite cold in the shade).This Big Bear hike offered great forest scenery and peak-a-boo views of lake. Plus, it was very vacant, as we only saw one other group on the trail!

Total Distance:

  • 4-8 miles, depending on how long you venture up the trail. We went 2 miles in and 2 miles back.

Trail Map:

View Mill Creek Road Hiking Trail – Big Bear Lake in a larger map



From the Orange County/Los Angeles Area:
  • Take the CA-91 E/Riverside Fwy
  • CA-91 E becomes I-215 N
  • Merge onto I-10 E via EXIT 40A toward Redlands.
  • Merge onto CA-210 W via EXIT 77B toward Highland/CA-330.
  • Keep right to take CA-330 N via EXIT 81 toward Big Bear.
  • CA-330 N becomes CA-18.
  • Turn sharp right onto Mill Creek Rd.
From the San Diego Area:
  • Take the I-15 N/Escondido Fwy N.
  • Keep right to take I-215 N via EXIT 63 toward Riverside/San Bernardino.
  • Merge onto I-10 E via EXIT 40A toward Redlands.
  • Merge onto CA-210 W via EXIT 77B toward Highland/CA-330.
  • Keep right to take CA-330 N via EXIT 81 toward Big Bear.
  • CA-330 N becomes CA-18.
  • Turn sharp right onto Mill Creek Rd.
Where to Park:
  • After you make a right on Mill Creek Road, continue up the road for about a mile, staying on the main road. The road will veer to the right, where you’ll come across a gate (it was closed during our visit). That’s where you’ll park, along the side of the road. Please note, there are several signs that read “Adventure Pass Required When Snow Is Present.” Adventure passes are sold for $5.00/day at local shops in the area.
What to Bring:

When to Go:

  • Spring-Summer-Fall: Although the Go Hike It Team completed this Big Bear hike in the late winter, it’s recommended to enjoy the Mill Creek Road in the Spring to Fall months. There’s plenty of trees for shade during the warmer months, but if the temperatures are high, we recommend completing the hike in the early morning or late afternoon.


How the Trail Looks:
Look around before take a selfie!
Mill Creek Road hiking trail during the winter
Follow the Skyline Trail sign to continue on the Mill Creek Road
Reached the top! Jumping for Joy!


Mill Creek Road Hiking Trail in Big Bear
Hiking in the snow


  • Yes, dogs are permitted on leashes.


Intensity Levels:

  • Barry-the-Bear: “BRRRR! I should stay hibernating during the winter months! Hiking in the snow is challenging, but it was still fun to stretch my legs and move around a little.”


  • Larry-the-Lion: “Wow! The altitude can get to you! This sea-level lioness was not ready for the demands that high elevation of 6,500 feet can put on you! Although it was challenging, I enjoyed it and can’t wait to return to the Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear area!”


  • Chris-the-Cheetah“Normally, I’m included to say “easy breasy,” by this was a good one and not soo easy breasy. I decided to push it and run up the trail, which after 4-5 miles was very tiring on my paws. Luckily, the return section was pretty much down downhill.”

Have you explored the Mill Creek Road Hiking Trail in Big Bear? What’s your favorite winter hike?
Share your hiking adventures with a comment below!

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