Three Best Outdoor Activities in San Bernardino National Forest

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Three Best Outdoor Activities in San Bernardino National Forest
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San Bernardino National Forest. (Photo courtesy of Joe Tuborg.)

The San Bernardino National Forest has so many ways to enjoy the outdoors that it's almost impossible to list them all, let alone write about them. Following are three that I believe provide the most mass appeal. In addition, I have included ideas that you can use for both summer and winter.

Mountain Climbing and Hiking

San Bernardino National Forest is home to Southern California's two highest peaks. Mount San Gorgonio, or "Old Greyback," as the locals refer to it, is in the northern section of the forest and reaches an elevation of 11,503 feet. The southern area of the national forest boasts Mount San Jacinto at a lofty 10,834 feet. Both mountains are non-technical and have well-marked hiking trails. Either summit can be reached in a day by climbers in reasonable condition. If you're not interested in stepping on top of Southern California, the forest offers hundreds of miles of hiking trails where you can choose to meander through the forest or go on a rigorous trek.

Ski or Snowboard

Although reserved for winter, several ski resorts are operated within the forest's boundaries. Most popular are:

Bear Mountain -- Located in the town of Big Bear, this resort offers both skiing and snowboarding. There is an emphasis on snowboarding, and it offers numerous terrain parks.

Snow Summit -- Also located in the town of Big Bear, this side of the mountain offers the longest ski runs in Southern California.

Snow Valley Mountain Resort -- Just outside the town of Arrowhead, this park gets a lot of action from those who do not want to make the farther drive to Big Bear. It offers a wide variety in levels of runs for both skiing and snowboarding

Fishing

The national forest has an abundance of fishing opportunities.

Lake and pond fishing -- Try your luck in catching native California fish. Rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, and catfish are some of the species you may find on your hook. The sport can be enjoyed from the shore, or if you prefer, many of the lakes offer boating, as well.

River and stream fishing -- Although a bit more difficult to reach, river and stream fishing can be exhilarating. Fly fishing in cold mountain streams can lend itself to the reward of battling a beautiful rainbow trout. However, if you are camping, remember that this is bear country. Clean your catch and bury the remains at least 300 yards away from your campsite.

Regardless of what activity you choose, you are guaranteed to have a wonderful experience. Spending time in the wilderness that is the San Bernardino National Forest is good for the soul.

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