Big Bear City
Big Bear City (not to be confused with the City of Big Bear Lake to the west!) is the large unincorporated area occupying most of the east end of the Big Bear Valley. The boundaries are roughly from Division Drive on the west, to Baldwin Lake/Erwin Lake on the east. Both the northern and southern boundaries of Bear City are the National Forest itself.
Big Bear City incorporates more than a dozen named neighborhoods and subdivisions, each with their own character and atmosphere. Some of the popular neighborhoods include Gold Mountain, Forest Spring, the Shay Meadow area, the charming “Peter Pan” subdivision, gated Tanglewood Trails, Whispering Forest and Valley View Estates. A large majority of Bear City was laid out with grid-like street patterns when subdivided, and offers a traditional “neighborhood” feel with level, easy access.
Typically, the Big Bear City area receives less snowfall than the Big Bear Lake and Fawnskin areas. Many areas offer level lots and access, making it a favorite locale for full-time residences. The western half of Bear City offers beautifully treed neighborhoods, while the area to the east has a more “wide open spaces” feel, with fewer trees and abundant sunshine.
Big Bear City’s water, sewer and trash services are provided by the Big Bear City Community Services district. Gas is provided by Southwest Gas, and electricity by Bear Valley Electric. The roads are maintained and plowed by both CalTrans and San Bernardino County. Bear City is served by the Big Bear City Fire Department, with two full-time stations staffed with fire and EMT personnel, and state-of-the-art equipment.
The Bear City business district lines both sides of Big Bear Boulevard from Division Drive to Greenspot Road (Hwy 38) and offers a variety of goods, services and restaurants. Within the boundaries lies the Big Bear City Airport, offering full aircraft services and rentals, and a 24-hour runway suitable for small private aircraft to executive jets.
Rich in history, the Bear City area was once the cattle ranching center of the Valley. The historic Pan Hot Springs resort and Peter Pan Woodland club were located in the area in the early days, and “Gold Mountain,” the predominant mountain to the north, was named for the gold rush that took place in nearby Holcomb Valley in the late 1800’s.
Big Bear City is host to mostly permanent residents, but vacation homes are nestled within every area. Historic “Maltby” style cabins (so named for the builder, Gus Maltby) abound, characterized by their half-round siding that was locally milled. Just about every home style imaginable can be found in Bear City, from small quaint cabins to ranch-style homes on acreage, mountain Chalets and Gambrels, Victorians, A-frames, and large split-level and two-story designs.
The Bear City area offers several points of public access to the National Forest, and trails leading into Holcomb Valley. It’s just a few minutes’ drive to the shopping areas in Big Bear Lake, the lake, and the ski resorts, too.
With ease of access to both Highways 18 and 38, leading off the mountain, Bear City offers ease of commuting, be it for work or just ease of reaching your mountain retreat. No matter what type of home or neighborhood you’re looking for, it’s likely that Big Bear City has something to offer!