Cougar Crest Trail to Bertha Peak Hike Guide
- 8 miles - Moderate Effort
- Or: 4.5 miles roundtrip to viewpoint benches
- 3-4 Hours (Total)
- 1,450 Total Feet of Climbing
- Max Elevation of 8,201 feet
- Leashed Dogs Allowed
The Cougar Crest Trail, one of the most popular in Big Bear, CA, offers excellent views and beautiful wilderness for a moderate, but not crazy, effort. On the hike, you'll experience a lush Alpine forest, views of Big Bear Lake, stone sculptures, a stretch on the iconic Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), and then the panoramic Bertha Peak, one of the high points around the lake.
- Video and Turn by Turn Directions
- Cougar Crest Trail Maps & Trail Conditions
- Tips and Recommendations for the Hike
When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.
Where Is the Cougar Crest Trail in Big Bear?
The Cougar Crest Trail is located on the north shore of Big Bear Lake. Use this trailhead address:
Cougar Crest Trailhead, Big Bear, CA 92314
You need a National Parks Pass or Adventure Pass to park in this lot.
If the parking lot is full, you can try parking at the nearby Big Bear Discovery Center and walk down the paved path to join the hike slightly after the start.
Gear For the Hike
The Cougar Crest Trail up to Bertha Peak is a very straightforward hike, with a good trail. Some folks think it's rocky, and compared to paved paths around the lake, it is, but compared to normal mountain trails, this trail is normal. If you have trekking poles, they'll come in handy, but I wouldn't buy new ones, especially for this hike. The summit at Bertha Peak can be windy and cool; bring an extra layer or shell. In the winter, there can be snow and ice, and micros-spikes help on slippery slopes. 2L of water will keep you hydrated for the length of this hike.
Top Spring 2023 Gear Picks
Osprey Stratos and Sirrus 24 Daypack ( Amazon | Sirrus REI | Stratos REI )
Garmin Mini 2 Satellite Communicator ( Amazon | REI )
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles ( REI | Amazon )
As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.
All My March 2023 Top Gear Picks
Cougar Crest Trail Maps
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Cougar Crest Trail to Bertha Peak Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
If you just want to hike Cougar Crest Trail, and not Bertha Peak, enjoy the benches, and then turn around. Otherwise keep going to continue to Bertha Peak.
This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).
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