Two feet of snow turned Big Bear into a winter wonderland last week, just in time for the 6th annual Winter Trails Day at the Big Bear Discovery Center on Saturday, January 14.
Winter Trails Day is a national event dedicated to promoting winter sports such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Here in Big Bear, the event was a roaring success with around 1,500 members of the public attending – many from the local SoCal area, but also from as far afield as New England and Texas.
The day was a mix of outdoor activities to take advantage of the fresh snow, and cozy indoor happenings fueled by hot cocoa and fresh coffee. Children enjoyed recyclable nature crafts and StoryTime with Discovery Center staff and volunteers, while adults and families alike could choose from a range of activities including snowshoeing, nature walks and good old-fashioned snowman building.
Visitors learned to snowshoe in the fresh powder, with free demonstrations taking place in perfect bluebird conditions. Some enjoyed the activity so much, they took the opportunity to try out their new skills on a longer snowshoe hike the next day. Guided snowshoe eco-tours are available for a small fee at the Big Bear Discovery Center every Saturday and Sunday until March 4 (weather permitting).
Those attending Winter Trails Day also learned animal tracking from naturalists familiar with wildlife native to the San Bernardino National Forest. Both children and adults enjoyed learning the tracks of local animals – from large predators such as coyotes, black bears and cougars to smaller mammals like raccoons, chipmunks and bobcats. Participants were able to make their own casts of common animal tracks, and then search for tracks on a short nature walk in the forest.
As the sun set over snowy Big Bear Lake, happy and tired visitors left the Discovery Center with a renewed appreciation for the natural wonders of the Big Bear Valley and the San Bernardino National Forest. Thank you to all who joined us in making the day a great success! ----Adriena Daunt