Weather in Big Bear, California: Climate, Seasons, & Average Temperatures

Fall at Big Bear Lake

Brady Enger/Visit Big Bear 

Nestled at 6,752 feet above sea level in the heart of the San Bernardino Mountains roughly 99 miles from downtown Los Angeles, Big Bear is one of the very few tourist destinations in Southern California that experiences the four traditional and distinct seasons. The area happily welcomes visitors year-round and doesn’t experience too many seasonal closures. Instead, the alpine adventures that fill a traveler’s itinerary while visiting the picturesque mountain playground largely depend on when they visit. For example, the Bear Mountain Resort shifts focus from skiing to its mountain bike park when the powder melts.

Winter brings snow, and snow means skiing, snowboarding, hot beverages, and nightly campfires. Hike among wildflowers in the late spring thanks to a bulk of the annual rainfall dropping between November and April. Summers are the warmest part of the year and visitors flock to the lake for water sports and fishing and to the peaks for biking and hiking during the year’s longest days. Nights are generally frosty even in July. Autumn colors the area in fiery tones as leaves change, and unfortunately and recently too often, and fires roar as this is concurrently now also known as wildfire season. (The truly scary part is the latter season started in late summer in 2020 and seems to last a little longer with each passing year.)

This guide aims to educate hopeful travelers on the weather and climate basics for the wider Big Bear region, which includes the villages of Big Bear and Big Bear Lake, where most tourists find themselves, as well as the tiny communities of Fawnskin and Minnelusa in order to help them plan the optimal time to vacation there.

Fast Climate Facts

  • Hottest Month: July (81 F/ 27.2 C)
  • Coldest Month: January (47 F/ 8.3 C)
  • Wettest Month: February (4.21 inches)
  • Driest Month: June (0.02 inches of rain)
  • Sunniest Month: June (averages 14.4 hours of daylight a day) 
  • Month With Most Snowfall: February (18.1 inches)
  • Best Month for Swimming: August (Lake water is in mid-60s)

Winter in Big Bear

Big Bear is one of Southern Californians most beloved vacation destinations and much of their affection has been earned when the mercury drops below 50 degrees F (and below 25 degrees F at night), the rain returns, the snow starts to stick, the slopes open, and the hot toddy parties commence in the jacuzzis on fabulous cabin decks. The skies dump 11.4 inches of the total average 20.2 inches of rainfall in these three months and 46.9 inches of the year’s average annual snowfall of 72.2 inches. Ski season typically runs from November to March, though it has started and ended both earlier and later. Winter weather and curvy mountain roads can be a dicey and dangerous combination, especially if you don't deal with icy, wet, or snow-filled streets regularly. Find winter driving tips from Visit Big Bear here, and call the Big Bear Lake Visitors Center (800-424-4232) or Cal-Trans Road Condition hotline (800-427-7623) for up-to-date road conditions.

What to pack: Cold weather gear is a must. Beanies, scarves, gloves, wool socks, thermal underwear, insulated waterproof boots, thick sweaters, and parkas will all come in handy even if it is a light snow year. Equipment for skiing and snowboarding is available to rent, but pack your personal collection if you are particular. Toss tire chains in the trunk. They are often recommended and sometimes required, and that way you’re prepared if a huge unexpected storm rolls in suddenly.

Average Temperatures by Month

  • December: 48 F (8.8 C) / 21 F (-6.1 C)
  • January: 47 F (8.3 C)  / 21 F (-6.1 C)
  • February: 47 F (8.3 C) / 22 F (-5.5 C)

Spring in Big Bear

Spring starts cold as the days are still usually below 60 degrees F and the nights are still in the 20s F. March and April still see storms of rain and snow, but most of the truly inclement weather is gone by May and the temperature has risen into the 60s F. By late April and May, you might also see wildflowers starting to break ground and say hello. The lake also becomes more usable by boats in May. 

What to pack: Hiking boots, snowshoes, or other footwear with support and traction, refillable water bottle, brimmed hats, walking sticks/poles, and a rain jacket/windbreaker (there’s still a good chance of rain, and even snow, this time of year.) if you plan to hit the trails and scale peaks. You’ll also want to invest in comfortable clothes you can move in made from fabrics that wick sweat and dry fast like nylon or polyester. Also, it’s just as important to pack up your trash and bring it back to town to dispose of as locals take the “leave no trace” philosophy seriously.

Average Temperatures by Month

  • March: 52 F (11.1 C) / 25 F (-3.8 C)
  • April: 59 F (15 C) / 29 F (-1.66 C)
  • May: 68 F (20 C) / 36 F (2.2 C)
Big Bear Lake Landscape
RnDmS / Getty Images

Summer in Big Bear

It’s another popular season for visitors but a bulk of the activities they’ll find themselves doing on this trip revolve around the 2,971-acre lake like boating, waterskiing, swimming, and, of course, fishing. Fishing for rainbow trout can be done year-round from the 22-miles of shoreline, but anglers see the most action in the summer months and can finally get their boats to more remote spots as the iciness of winter has passed. Largemouth bass are particularly aggressive after a mid-summer spawn. This is the best season for channel catfish as well. A guide to the best spots is available here. Surprisingly, there are typically a few days of drizzle in July and August.

What to pack: Bathing suits as the water temperature in the lake is at its warmest between late July and mid-September. Of course, that’s not saying much as it tops out in the mid-60s F. Be aware that lifeguards are only on duty at Swim Beach across from Meadow Park, and that cold water drains body heat up to 25 times faster than cold air and the shock of water below 70 degrees can kill humans within a minute. (Swim responsibly is all we’re saying.) Bait and tackle, like ski equipment, can be purchased or rented. But if you have favorite lures and lucky poles, bring them along. Pack the aforementioned hiking gear of spring if your plans call for a walk or two, and they should as the air’s fresh, animals more lively, and often the scenery still green and blooming.

Average Temperatures by Month

  • June: 76 F (24.4 C) / 42 F (5.55 C)
  • July: 81 F (27.2 C) / 48 F (8.8 C)
  • August: 80 F (26.6 C) / 47 F (8.3 C)

Fall in Big Bear

Autumn starts out warm, which is great for apple picking and attending the Apple Butter Festival in the foothill enclaves of Oak Glen and Yucaipa. Just down the mountain a stretch, the area’s apple season is roughly August to November. It's also a great time for leaf-peeping as the trees are bursting with ambers, crimsons, and golds. But the weather quickly heads south into the 60s F during the day and the 30s F at night by October. At about the same time, the chance of showers and snow start to grow and are almost always a sure thing in November.

What to pack: It’s pretty darn crisp at night, even in mid-September, so throwing a few light sweaters and a good coat into your luggage is a good idea. Being prepared with an umbrella and a raincoat is also not a bad idea. By November, count on needing winter gear. Forgo a bathing suit unless your rental or hotel has a hot tub. Or if you happen to enjoy a good polar plunge.

Average Temperatures by Month

  • September: 74 F (23.3 C) / 42 F (5.5 C)
  • October: 64 F (17.7 C) / 33 F (.5 C)
  • November: 54 F (12.2 C) / 26 F (-3.3 C)

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours

Here's what to expect each month in terms of daytime highs (in Fahrenheit), inches of rain, and daylight hours.

Average Monthly Temperature, Rainfall, and Daylight Hours
  Temperature (F) Rainfall Daylight
January 47 degrees 4.5 inches 10.2 hours
February 47 degrees 3.9 inches 11 hours
March 52 degrees 2.7 inches 12 hours
April 59 degrees 1 inch 13.1 hours
May 68 degrees 0.4 inches 14 hours
June 76 degrees 0.2 inches 14.4 hours
July 81 degrees 0.7 inches 14.2 hours
August 80 degrees 1 inch 13.4 hours
September 74 degrees 0.4 inches 12.4 hours
October 64 degrees F 9 inches 11.3 hours
November 54 degrees F 1.5 inches 10.4 hours
December 48 degrees F 3 inches 9.9 hours
Article Sources
TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy.
  1. "Average Water Temperature in Big Bear Lake (California)." 2019.

  2. Weather Atlas. "Monthly weather forecast and climate  Big Bear Lake, CA."

  3. Big Bear Municipal Water District. "Swimming" and "Cold Water Risks." 2019.