WHERE TO STAY: Built beneath the pines along Big Bear Boulevard, Eagle’s Nest Bed and Breakfast Lodge combines rustic log cabin décor with modern amenities. Hosts Mark and Vicki are skilled breakfast chefs (their blueberry pancakes are a stack of sweetness). Relax in an Adirondack chair on the patio, or kick back in seclusion in one of the cottage suites. (Two units at Eagle’s Nest are dog-friendly.) Campers can sleep near the Santa Ana River at one of South Fork Campground’s 24 tent-only sites. Dog-friendly!
The Castle Rock Trailhead begins on Big Bear Blvd. (SR 18), 1.2 miles east of the Big Bear Dam. From Big Bear Village, drive west 0.7-mile past Boulder Bay and park in the dirt pullout on the right side of the road (there’s limited parking here and an Adventure Pass is not required on this turnout). Find the trailhead on the opposite side of the curve 50 yards beyond the pullout. There is a small sign marking the Castle Rock Trailhead There are numerous direction signs to follow en route to Castle Rock, which is helpful because there are several footpaths branching off from the main trail. Beyond Castle Rock, the trail continues up to Route 2N86, an alternate starting point. A pamphlet on local trails can be picked up at the Big Bear Lake Discovery Center. Dog-friendly!