Little Bear Lake in the Trinity Alps

by John Soares on August 3, 2012

I did a fantastic hike to Little Bear Lake in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. It started with a steep 3000-foot climb to Big Bear Lake, followed by a moderate 1-mile cross-country scramble over granite.

I love this lake!

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gambolin' Man August 3, 2012 at 7:44 am

Real sweet, John! I’d say you have above average water stamina to go along with your superduper hiking acumen! Wish I had been there with you! I really don’t know the Trinity Alps hardly at all!


John Soares August 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

The Trinity Alps are definitely worth your time Tom. Very few people seem to know about them.


Steve Gorman April 2, 2013 at 9:15 am


One of my very best friends spent his teenage summers in the Alps in the 1940s-50s on Trumbull Ranch. You guys would probably enjoy sharing stories. By the way, he was very instumental in getting the Northern area protected with wilderness designation. He spent weeks backpacking and photographing all the basins back in the late 70s, along with Dave Van DeMarc from the Sierra Club. The best photos were sent to Congress in DC to persuade protection. I hiked into Big and Little Bear with him, also McDonald and Stoddard I think. I will send him a link to your Blog. Perhaps he will contribute. I have not been back since the 70s but plan to go this summer.

Thanks for all you contribute here. It is very generous of you to do so.


John Soares April 7, 2013 at 7:25 am

Thanks for sharing this info Steve. Little Bear Lake and its surroundings are one of my favorite spots in the Trinity Alps.


Stephanie Hoffman August 3, 2012 at 11:55 am

Outstanding! Thank you for sharing your magical time!


Wayne Newman August 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

John, we have been to Big Bear Lake about a six times. Can you elaborate for us how to get to Little Bear Lake? I;ve read the guidebooks, and we are unclear as to the best way to get there. Most times we’ve been too relieved to reach Big Bear, that we don’t make the effort…especially if we have Big Bear to ourselves. But a few times Big Bear has a half dozen others…and Little Bear would have been a nice option. Thanks


John Soares August 6, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Wayne, I hope to do a bigger post about Big Bear and Little Bear in the near future, and I’ll include discussion of how to find the route.


Mary marcina July 14, 2015 at 1:33 pm

Miriam and I recently went up to Little Bear Lake too, then followed the tantalizing suggestion from a Forest Service employee to go over a high saddle to the right of the entry path to Little Bear Lake to make a loop back to Big Bear Lake. It was an adventure! Do this only if you are confident in route-finding skills and, (on the other side of the saddle) ,can do a little down scrambling on all-fours. This loop is best with only a day pack The route to the saddle is unmarked and takes some intuition and luck to reach a good spot on the saddlet. After reaching the saddle, descend making a gradual left trajectory towards the drainage stream (no need to go way over to the actual deeper canyon drainage declivity to the far, far left)) , making your way down to about 30 vertical feet in elevation from Big Bear Lake. Stop descending before the brush becomes impenetrable. Search to the right for the sketchy trail back to the campsites at the head of Big Bear Lake.


John Soares July 14, 2015 at 3:08 pm

Thanks for sharing your route, Mary. I’ll have to try that some day.


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