Wildlife In Big Bear
The elevated, cool forests around Big Bear are Alpine, meaning, like regions of the Swiss Alps they support high altitude conifers, plants and wild life that can stand cold, dry air. The most majestic tree you’ll see is the Lodgepole pine, a California native that can reach amazing heights. The mountain slopes are also dotted with other varieties of pines as well as scrub, live and black oak. On the lower, dryer side of the range, expect Mojave desert plants like juniper and Joshua trees, spiky yuccas and whispy chaparral. Wildflowers pop up in the most unexpected places, especially during the spring.
Southern California birds like ravens, scrub jays, red headed woodpeckers and hawks abound. Very lucky sharp-eyed birdwatchers may spot a bald eagle. Their numbers are recovering nicely here after DDT was banned nationally.
Kids will probably be just as delighted to get close up views of harmless lizards, cute bunnies and playful squirrels.
But you won’t see the grizzly bears this lake was named after, unless you visit the wild animal park. A few black bears ramble around the woods, but they are shy and usually leave you alone if you don’t startle or try to feed them. You aren’t likely to catch site of mountain lions, bobcats, foxes or deer either, as these critters know how to keep a low profile. But don’t be surprised if a raccoon or coyote comes sniffing around looking for leftovers. So keep those picnic baskets covered.