Big Bear Lake has been a center of human activity for more than 2,000 years. The first people to enjoy the lakeshore and the vibrant fish life inhabiting the waters here were the Serrano Indians. It was the Gold Rush in Southern California that brought the area to the attention of settlers, and by 1908, there were no more grizzly bears left in the Big Bear Lake region. Black bears live in this mountainous region, though, so tourists staying in vacation homes on Big Bear Lake should be careful not to leave food outside or in their cars.
There is a hot spring near Big Bear Lake that has drawn tourists here since the early 1920s. Indeed, beginning in that decade Big Bear Lake, located in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, began to take on an atmosphere reminiscent of a country club, with many amenities provided for visitors. It has also been a place where many films and television programs have been shot. Anyone who has watched a lot of the old TV Western Bonanza has likely viewed scenes filmed here. What makes it so popular for Hollywood producers and directors is not just its near proximity to Hollywood, which tourists can easily visit on a day trip, but also the sparkling blue waters and pine forests that make the area very photogenic.
Big Bear Lake is popular in the winter, with visitors skiing at Snow Summit, but October is another good time to visit. Oktoberfest here includes the Biergarten with the highest elevation in the United States.