A Peaceful Mountain Sanctuary. Escape to the San Bernardino Mountains and the sanctuary of Big Bear Lake. A three-hour drive from Los Angeles or San Diego will take you to almost 7,000 feet above sea level, breathing air so clear there’s a solar observatory you can tour right on the lake’s edge. It’s the perfect place to enjoy hiking, biking and other outdoor pursuits, or just lie back and let the breeze take you away. Host to two of Southern California’s largest ski resorts, Big Bear provides four seasons of abundant recreational opportunities.