Big Bear is one of Southern California’s most dog friendly communities, and it’s no wonder why; fresh air, open spaces, and plenty of other dogs to bark at and sniff. If dogs could choose their places to live, Big Bear would be at the top of the list. The dog owners that live up here already know that one of life’s simple pleasures is watching a dog play in the snow or splash around the lake. You can’t help but smile.
Walk through the Big Bear village and you’ll see water dishes outside many businesses and restaurants. Driving down the boulevard you will easily spot pickup trucks and SUV’s with at least one dog drooling down the side of the vehicle. It’s just that kind of town. A majority of the lodging in Big Bear has some sort of pet friendly accommodation and Big Bear is listed in several pet friendly directories as being a perfect getaway for dogs and their owners.
Many of the great hiking trails that surround our mountain valley are also great escapes for our four-footed friends. Just be sure your dog won’t bolt after the first squirrel it spots on the trail. Always carry plenty of water and be prepared for emergencies. If you want to get your dog used to the hiking trails it’s a good idea to keep them on a leash for the first few trips or until you’re certain that they won’t miss-behave.
The North Shore pedal path that runs from Stanfield Cutoff west to the solar observatory is probably the most popular walking path in Big Bear, with both dogs and people. You definitely want to keep your dog on a leash due to the proximity of the highway and all the other distractions. On any afternoon you can see dozens of dogs and their owners walking or jogging along the lakeshore.
The VCA animal hospital is right across the street from the east end of the trail and I fondly remember taking “Shelby”, my Golden Retriever, for reward walks after her annual shots. Instead of freaking out when we pulled into the veterinarian’s parking lot she would actually get excited about her visit. But it was never about the fresh air or even the walk itself, Shelby wanted to see other dogs. And she was in dog heaven.
Big Bear has that sort of Mayberry, home town feel that calls out for the simple things in life. If you’re considering a move to Big Bear one of the first things I recommend you do is find a dog to share your life with. It just seems that dog owners enjoy the whole experience more than non-pet owners, if for no other reason that their dogs get them out of the house and into the great outdoors.