Background photo - U.S. #5 Pikes Peak CO.

Start (click and drag map; double click to move forward)

Ride Description

 This route takes us up towards the town of Big Bear City (pop. 12,304 in 2010) and Big Bear  Lake from the east side of the San Bernardino National Forest.   Top 100 climbs Hwy  330 and Hwy 38 access Big Bear from the opposite (southwestern) side of the San  Bernardino Mountains.  However, we must regretfully recommend against this climb due to the high and fast moving traffic on it.  If not for the traffic, this would be an excellent overall ride and climb.  We begin at the sign for the Lazy Lizard Ranch and its very cool sign.  Unfortunately, there is a quarry and cement processing plant along the first 5 miles of our route which puts an uncomfortable amount of big rig traffic on the road with and close to us. 

There are serveral segments where we have great views distant planes to the east and northeast as we gain altitude, a smattering of Joshua Trees and some nice rock formations over the final 5 miles that make for pleasant views and a scenic ride.   There are also some stretches of low double digit climbing, primarily over the lasts few miles of the climb. 

The roadway is in good condition and there is a 2’ or greater designated shoulder for much of the climb.  However, as noted, there is moderate traffic on this highway, including a good number of big rigs, that travel by at quite high speed, particularly for  the first-half of the ride.   There is also a stretch of switchbacks between mile 6-7 and the last 1.5 miles where there is no shoulder and a brief period where the cyclist is in the downhill driver's blind spot that is disconcerting.  

Hover cursor over segment slices (left) for exact  grade of a particular segment. Map route (bottom) colors correlate with elevation legend colors.


Note:  Click on “View full route" (top left) which opens the Hwy 18 North RideWithGPS page.  Hover over the distance line at the spot you would like to begin a sub-  segment for this climb.  Click your mouse on the start point and drag the vertical graphing line the distance you wish to obtain sub-detail from, then release the  mouse at the end point.  This will give you the following sub-detail for the selected segment in the “Metrics” window top right of the page:  (a) distance, (b) elevation  gained and lost, (c) max grade, (d) average grade (e) that segment's climb category – e.g. Cat 1, HC, etc., and (f) FIETS score for the segment.

Cycling Southern CA

Hwy 18 (North - Big Bear)


  • Distance:                                 10.7 miles                  

  • Beginning elevation:            3,311'

  • Ending elevation:                 6,832'

  • Elevation gained:                 3,508'

  • Average Grade:                    7.1%

  • Fiets Index:                           7.75
  • Location:  Climb begins at the intersection of Hwy 18 and Rosewood St., Lucerne Valley, CA, 67 miles northeast of Ontario International Airport (ONT) and 122 miles northeast of LAX at 34.40046, -116.88939  latitude/longitude)