Cougar Crest Trail up to Bertha Peak is a classic Big Bear hike. Bertha Peak is centered above the entire Big Bear Valley, so it offers great views in all directions of the lake, town and even Holcomb Valley. The trail is steep, ascending almost 1,500 feet in about 3 miles. You should be in relatively good physical condition to hike it, but it will be worth it!
- ~ 7 miles (round trip) (about 3-4 hours of hiking total)
- Start at 6804', peak at 8201'
- What to bring:
- Good trail shoes, water, food, sunscreen, camera, smile
- Adventure Pass:
- You will need an Adventure Pass to park at the trailhead
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Directions to the Trailhead
From the town of Big Bear, you'll need to find Stanfield Cutoff and go across it to the North until you're at the intersection of Stanfield and North Shore Drive / Hwy 38. Go west about 1.6 miles. A few hundred feet after you pass the Discovery Center, you'll see the sign for Cougar Crest and the entrance to the parking area on the right.
Start up paved path which will change to dirt quickly. Trail starts out wide and the will narrow after about a mile. You will be hiking on the south side of the ridge slowly rising in elevation and getting great views of the lake and ski resorts. You will cross over a saddle and to the other side of the ridge (Holcomb Valley side) for about 1/8 mile. Then at 2.2 miles you will meet up with the PCT and you will need to bear right staying on the south side (lake side) of the ridge.
You will be on the PCT for less than ½ mile. Then you will come upon a dirt road which you will turn RIGHT on. Look for white post that has a faded BERTHA PEAK written on it.
You will follow this steep access road ¾ mile to the peak. You will be able to see the radio towers that you are headed toward for encouragement that you are almost there. Seven Summits marker and punch are attached low on the south side of the fencing.