Big Bear Lake Trail Center - Mountain Biking

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About

Summary

Home to plenty of rock gardens, big boulder drops, and a rewarding vista after a long ascent, the Big Bear trail system is well worth the cost of entry.

Written by

Carolyne Whelan

Distance

50.0 miles

If you have fear of missing out, you can go for all 50 miles. If you want a shorter ride, there’s a nice 21-mile loop that starts off at the gate, and gives you a taste of all Big Bear has to offer.

Destination Distance From Downtown

142.2 miles

Difficulty

4 of 5 diamonds

Big Bear gets pretty rocky at times and has plenty of boulders, as well as the occasional log, plus muddy sections depending on the weather.

Time To Complete

5 hours

There are close to 50 miles of singletrack, which have long, gradual climbs (and their accompanying descents), but you can do a shorter loop to get yourself home in time for dinner.

Seasonality

Spring, Summer, and Winter

The center is closed to mountain bikers from October 31 through December 31, but opens back up in January.

Dog Friendly

Yes

Fees Permits

Yes

There is a day use fee of $5 per rider, or it’s $30 for a season pass.

Review

Intro

Big Bear Lake Trail Center is becoming a mountain bike epicenter for enduro-riders, racers, and anyone looking for a rush. With almost 50 miles of singletrack, you'll come across plenty of rock gardens, boulders, logs, and epic descents, while still enjoying a long, gradual climb with a rewarding view at the top of the pine forest. What’s great is that there are also some fast, smooth trails that are great for all skill levels. Spend an afternoon exploring the well-maintained trail system, or take the plunge and sign up for one of the renowned bike races.

What Makes It Great

Big Bear Lake Trail Center is one of the best places in the region to get a taste of everything West Virginia has to offer in terms of trail features. From boulder drops and embedded rock gardens to challenging climbs and white-knuckling descents, this trail system is perfect for any rider with a bit of skill and a lot of heart.

With almost 50 miles of trails, you’ll have plenty to explore, but if you’re looking for something a bit more moderate in distance, try the Race Loop (about 13 miles) or the Cross Country Loop (about 20 miles). These rides will still give you a taste of the Bear without exhausting you beyond the point of having a great time.

Be sure to pace yourself, because some of these trails get very technical. If you find yourself in over your head, there is a gentler inner loop, but overall this park is a great intermediate-to-advanced trail network with lots of fast, swooping sections and plenty of rocks to keep it interesting.

If you camp at Big Bear Lake campgrounds, you’ll have the chance to ride it all and still enjoy some R&R.

Who is Going to Love It

Anyone who can pedal a bike and doesn’t mind getting out of the saddle every once in a while to climb or descend tricky terrain will appreciate Big Bear Lake. There’s a little bit of everything, so climbers, jumpers, lovers of rock gardens, riders of big drops, and enduro-racers will enjoy Big Bear’s trail system. More advanced riders will be able to appreciate more of the park, since some trails are very challenging, but the majority of the park is great for less experienced riders, too.

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

Take Exit 29 for Hazleton off I-68 in West Virginia and head south for about 3 miles. There will be maps at the entrance, and parking is easy to find.

Dogs are allowed at this private park, and you can camp in tents, RVs, or cabins.

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Location

Big Bear Lake

450 Big Bear Lake Rd
Bruceton Mills, WV, 26525
39.600673, -79.506056

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