Big Bear Lake is a small city in San Bernardino County, California, located in the San Bernardino Mountains along the south shore of Big Bear Lake, and surrounded by the San Bernardino National Forest.
Big Bear Lake was inhabited by the indigenous Serrano Indians for over 2,000 years before it was explored by Benjamin Wilsonand his party. Once populated by only the natives and the grizzly bears, from which the area received its name, the population of the Big Bear Valley grew rapidly during the Southern California Gold Rush from 1861 to 1912. Grizzly bears were not found in the region after 1908. Today, there are black bears in the region since their introduction in 1933, and they are sometimes sighted in residential areas.