The Pine Knot Trail to Grand View Point in Big Bear Lake, California, is a great choice for a peaceful hike to a breathtaking mountain vista. The 1200-foot climb will give you and your pup a workout, but you'll be so in awe of the beauty all around you that you'll hardly notice the gradual ascent. Among the treats this trail offers are copious wildflowers and expansive views of Mount San Gorgonio and the Santa Ana River canyon. On a clear day, you can even see Catalina Island from Grand View Point.
On your way to the grand view, you'll climb through groves of oak, manzanita, and pine, along open hillsides carpeted with thick brush and into mountain meadows dotted with wildflowers. Along the trail, areas shaded by tall Ponderosa pines are perfect places to stop and rest for a picnic and to give your good dog some pets. As the trail opens up, tall smooth stones stand like sentinels in the distance, guarding gnarled old trees reaching toward the sun.
This is a great hike for birdwatching and for leaf peeping in the fall, too, when oaks paint the hills in shades of gold and yellow. In the spring and summer, tall pines and short firs splash the hills with different shades of green as the leaves of deciduous trees rustle in the wind. This is even a favorite spot in the winter, where many come to snowshoe in solitude.
The Aspen Glen Picnic Area where the trailhead is located is a day use area only. Note that the facilities at this site, including parking for trail access, close at dusk. A $5 Daily Adventure Pass is also required to park in this area. The surrounding area is replete with mountain lodges, many of which are pet-friendly if you're looking to splurge. If you're looking for the opposite, there is a small primitive camping area near the end of the trail.
Whether you're in for a visit or live nearby, you should definitely check out the Pine Knot Trail in Big Bear. This beautiful trail is easily accessible, but wild, and provides a perfect overview of the natural beauty to be found here.