Backpacking in Holcomb Creek, Big Bear

Hi everyone! I apologize for the lack of posts over the past few months. I have been very tied up with school and extracurricular activities. However, I have gone on a great backpacking trip in the time since my last post, so here goes!

For my trip, I traveled out to Holcomb Creek, in Big Bear (in the San Bernardino Mountains) with a group of friends. All of the cars were parked in an open area of the dirt road we took to get to the trail head. After parking, we traveled down the road a bit until we spotted an opening on the left side of the road. We climbed over a knee-high chain and began our hike.

For the first couple of miles, we trekked up and down some low hills on a trail that paralleled Holcomb Creek itself and a fireroad. The trees at points looked quite burnt, so I assume there was a fire there within the past few months or so. On the left hand side of the trail, Holcomb Creek meandered along. At this point the creek was very small and was largely obscured by giant plants and grasses. These plants seemed to go on forever through the valley and were quite pretty.

After these first couple of miles, we left the trees and river behind as the trail continued into a desert environment. The trees weren’t numerous and were very scraggly. As the sun rose higher in the sky, we started gaining elevation with steeper inclines and soon stopped for lunch high on a hill, at approximately the halfway point. From here, the hike began going increasingly downhill for a couple more miles, punctuated intermittently with a couple of inclines. The scenery slowly melted into a more forested environment and we encountered the creek again a few times as we hiked alongside it.


For the last couple of miles, there were only a few inclines, but these were pretty steep, and not that thrilling, probably due to the fact that the trail seemed to be made of sand at this point. Eventually we crossed another fireroad. At this point we encountered some people on dirt bikes and ATV’s. (As a matter of fact, Holcomb Creek Valley is quite popular for these people. When you look up Holcomb Creek on the internet, much of the information is related to ATV usage and trails for ATV’s.)



As we continued on, we crossed the creek a couple of times in the last mile and a half. Eventually, we reached the campsite. This is a trail campground called Holcomb Crossing. The area is filled with pine trees, but there is still a lot of space to pitch tents. My friend even managed to pitch his tent hammock between a couple of trees!

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I really like this area. There’s a lot of shade, and the creek is right by the campsite. This proved to be a very useful source of water and we were able to set up a couple of gravity filters there. There is also a bountiful amount of small sticks and branches that can be used to build a campfire.

The next day, the trip back was much of the same, although I did almost lose my water bottle. I was climbing over a boulder in the creek to get to the other side, when my bottle fell out of one of the mesh bottle holders on the side of my backpack. I jumped the last couple of feet and made a mad dash through the trees, then jumped from the bank onto a little sand bar in the center of the creek. Luckily the current brought my bottle just within reach and I was able to retrieve it. (And that, folks, is why its important to have everything on your backpack secured tightly!)


We passed some more people on ATV’s and a group of people driving up a trail of boulders in their trucks. It looked pretty fun! It probably is until the truck flips when it goes over a particularly large boulder. (However, I’m nowhere near close to being knowledgeable in this field and I don’t think that happens often.)

20130609-005228.jpgAfter 6 or so more miles, we reached the cars, and for many, this was a very nice reunion indeed. I had a lot of fun on this trip. I don’t go backpacking a lot, but when I do, it’s a nice break from car camping. Now, some of you are probably interested in some more information on the trail itself.

The hike is approximately 16 miles round trip. It would probably be best to hike the trail in the spring or fall, because in the winter it does snow here and in the summer it can get to be pretty hot. For driving directions, you can go to the following link that REI has:

For a short, 2 day backpacking trip, this trip would be great. It’s not that difficult of a hike and relatively short. On the other hand, it’s also nice way to get away from work for a small break on the weekend!


One thought on “Backpacking in Holcomb Creek, Big Bear

  1. Pingback: Holcomb Crossing Trail Camp Loop | Nobody Hikes in L.A.

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