With all the snow we have received so far, the driving conditions on the various Hwys. and roads to & from Big Bear are bad. Couple that with the thousands of people who are trying to come up or leave the mountains, and you have some pretty frustrating & dangerous driving conditions.
Weekends are typically the worst, especially after a good snow storm. The local news stations really pump it up, and that is great. But, that brings a lot of people to the mountains. Add the bad road conditions and lots can go wrong.
I have a lot of clients that come up on the weekends to look at property and just getting to Big Bear can be tough.
Here are few tips to help prepare yourself before you come up to Big Bear this winter –
The drive up the hill can take anywhere from 1 to 4 or 5 hours.
It is important to know that there are three Highways that come up to Big Bear. Most people are familiar and use what we call the “front way” up to Big Bear. This is the route up to Big Bear on Hwy. 330, which intersects Hwy. 18 in Running Springs and then up to Big Bear. While this is the quickest way during normal traffic and driving conditions, there is nothing normal during winter. Using this route during the winter is playing against the odds.
The other routes, which can take 15-45 minutes longer during normal traffic and road conditions, can be a lot quicker during the winter months. Taking Hwy. 38 from the Redlands area is my best bet during winter. There is generally a lot less traffic on this route and a more enjoyable drive. The other route is through the high desert, Victorville and Lucerne Valley area, from Hwy. 15 to Hwy. 18 and up the “back way” to Big Bear. This is probably the safest bet to eliminate traffic and less mountain driving. Both of these routes drop into the east end of the Valley, near Big Bear City.
It is all a bit of a gamble, but as they say in Big Bear, “going east is least,” so I would recommend taking the latter two options prior to heading down the “front way”. This especially applies to those who come up for the day to go skiing, look at property, or just enjoy the mountains.
This goes without saying, but many people still make this mistake. Even with 4-wheel drive, it is important to carry chains with you at all times when driving in Big Bear during the winters months. If they are checking for chains and you don’t have them with you, you may have to drive all the way back down and buy some.
It is always nice to have a shovel just in case you need to dig out, or help someone else dig out. A first aid kit, along with some rope for towing would be good to carry as well.
Check the road conditions.
The road conditions can and do change at any moment. Falling rocks, accidents, land slides, you name it, it can happen and close down these roads. Be sure to check before leaving, and maybe even give your real estate agent, or local friend or contact, a call before heading up.
Here are some recommended sites to check on road conditions & chain requirements.
I see this all the time and it is really a major pet peeve of mine. People will just stop in the road, or partially on the side of it. They are either trying to put chains on, looking for a spot to go sledding, or whatever else. Not only is it dangerous, it slows everyone else down. There are plenty of place to go sledding or put chains on. Try to find one that is not in the middle or next to a major Hwy. with a lot of traffic.
Snow in Big Bear is not a new thing. It is one of the main reasons why people buy homes in the area and is also a fun part of the year. Getting to Big Bear during this time of year can be stressful, but keeping some of these tips in mind might just help lower that stress level.