Big Bear Road Conditions & Directions
Cal Trans – Updated every 30 minutes for road closures and chain restrictions – HIGHWAY 18 FROM RUNNING SPRINGS TO BIG BEAR IS CLOSED
Bear Mountain has their own Road Conditions link
Current Webcam of Snow Summit
The drive up the mountain to Big Bear Lake is beautiful with fantastic vistas, trees and multiple photo opportunities along the way. There are 3 ways up and 3 ways home and we always suggest checking Big Bear road conditions and weather forecast several days before your trip . Big Bear is a mountain community and getting here takes a little consideration regarding route, time of year and time of day. Turnouts are available for slower drivers with a few passing lane opportunities. Chains are frequently required for winter months when snow is present. Fog and fallen rock can create driving hazards, and it is best to make the trip during the day for the best visibility. We want all visitors to enjoy their stay in Big Bear. Please be sure to always check Big Bear road conditions prior to departing, select your route carefully and have a safe trip!
You can check weather here.
Directions to Big Bear
CHOOSE ROUTE & STARTING POINT
Hwy 18 – Lucerne Valley
The shortest and quickest way for visitors coming from Los Angeles, Orange County, and other points west is Hwy 330 / Hwy Hwy 18 is the quickest way to/from Barstow, Las Vegas, and other high desert locations. This route has the least amount of mountain driving.
Hwy 330 / Hwy 18 – Running Springs
The shortest and quickest way for visitors coming from Los Angeles, Orange County, and other points west is Hwy 330 / Hwy 18. Please note that this route can become very congested on the weekends during peak season.
Hwy 38 Redlands
The shortest and quickest way for visitors coming from Los Angeles, Orange County, and other points west is Hwy 330 / Hwy 18. Though the drive on this route takes a bit longer, it is typically less congested than Hwy 330 / Hwy 18.
Caltrans Chain Control Requirement Levels:
W: No Restrictions – Watch for snow on pavement.
R-1: Chains are required on all commercial vehicles (trucks or buses). All other vehicles (cars, pick-ups, vans, etc.) must have either snow tread tires or chains on the drive axle.
R-2: Chains are required on all vehicles except four-wheel drives with snow tread tires. Four-wheel drive vehicles must carry chains in the vehicle.
R-3: Chains required – ALL VEHICLES – no exceptions.
IT’S THE LAW: Carry tire chains at all times during winter travel in the mountains. SNOW PLAY ON OR NEAR ROADWAYS IS VERY DANGEROUS – DON’T DO IT! – DON’T RISK IT!
Caltrans officials urge you to check Big Bear road conditions often. To help keep you abreast of changing conditions, Caltrans operates the Caltrans Highway Information Network which motorists may telephone for up-to-the-minute information (800) 427-7623. The network is updated as Big Bear road conditions change.
Winter Travel Tips
- Make sure your brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, heater and exhaust system are in top condition.
- Check your antifreeze and be ready for colder temperatures. You may want to add special solvent to your windshield washer reservoir to prevent icing.
- Check your tires. Make sure they are the properly inflated and the tread is in good condition.
- Always carry chains when traveling in the winter mountains. Make sure they are the proper size for your tires and are in working order. You might also want to take along a flashlight and chain repair links. Chains must be installed on the drive wheels. Make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear wheel drive.
- Other suggested items to carry in your car are an ice scraper or commercial deicer, a broom for brushing snow off your car, a shovel to free your car if it’s “snowed in”, sand or burlap for traction if your wheels should become mired in snow and an old towel to clean your hands.
- It is also a good idea to take along water, food, warm blankets and extra clothing. A lengthy delay will make you glad you have them.
- Put an extra car key in your pocket. A number of motorists have locked themselves out of their cars when putting on chains and at ski areas.
- Give yourself extra time. Trips to the mountains can take longer during winter, especially if you encounter stormy Big Bear road conditions or icy roads. Get an early start and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Keep your gas tank full. It may be necessary to change routes or turn back during a bad storm or you may be caught in a traffic delay.
- Keep windshield and windows clear. You may want to stop at a safe turnout to use a snow brush or scraper. Use the car defroster and a clean cloth to keep the windows free of fog.
- Slow down. A highway speed of 55 mile an hour may be safe in dry weather but an invitation for trouble on snow and ice. Snow and ice make stopping distances much longer, so keep your seat belt buckled and leave more distance between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead. Bridge decks and shady spots can be icy when other areas are not. Remember to avoid sudden stops and quick direction changes.
- Be more observant. Visibility is often limited in winter by weather conditions. Slow down and watch for other vehicles and for snow equipment. Even though snow removal vehicles have flashing lights, visibility may be so restricted during a storm that it is difficult to see the slow moving equipment.
- When stalled, stay with your vehicle and try to conserve fuel while maintaining warmth. Be alert to any possible exhaust or monoxide problems.
If you use the services of a chain installer, be sure to get a receipt and jot the installer’s badge number on it. Remember, chain installers are independent business people, not Caltrans employees. Having the badge number may help with any misunderstandings later. Chain installers are NOT allowed to sell or rent chains. When removing chains, drive beyond the signs reading “End Chain Control” to a pull-off area where you can safely remove them.