Every once in a while, you come across a hike that turns out being a very pleasant surprise. I went into this trail with a vague idea what to expect, but it turned out being much more.

This trail starts at the Castle Rock Trailhead west of the Boulder Bay area of Big Bear Lake. Parking may be tricky, as you will have to find a safe spot on the side of the main road. The trail quickly goes very steep up a mile or more to the first landmark of Castle Rock. This in of it’s self would be a nice hike, as it has a great view of nearby Big Bear Lake. A little further past that point, the trail will level off and take you to a fire road. Your first sight of Bluff Lake and the meadow will be near an old cabin and an entry way to land owned by the Wildlands Conservancy. A walk around the lake and meadow takes you around a lush field of bright green ferns, which feels like such a special sight in the aridness of Southern California.

Once you are at Bluff Lake, you can check out the old YMCA camp, which was the location of the original Parent Trap movie from 1961. Just a short walk past the lake is the location of the Champion Lodgepole Pine, which is a giant 110 foot lodgepole pine over 400 years old.