Green Valley Lake

A Perfect Place for a Picnic…

Green Valley Lake is about 15 miles from Big Bear Lake.

google maps
google maps

Small, picturesque, and uncrowded this secluded “Hidden Gem” of a town in the San Bernardino Mountains is the “best kept secret on the mountain.” Nearly 4 miles away from State Highway 18, this resort community sits at an elevation of 7000 feet surrounded by a National Forest.

The town of Green Valley Lake offers clean air, blue skies, serenity, and the calm beauty of a quiet forested community. The 9-acre lake is stocked for fishing. Boats can be rented and a swimming area is also available. The small downtown area hosts a market, 2 restaurants, a post office, a bait and tackle shop, and a community church. A public campground with 40 spaces is available as well as cabins and summer homes to rent. Three times a year (Memorial Day weekend, Labor Day weekend, and Thanksgiving weekend) artists and musicians open up their homes and studios to visitors for the Artisan Tour. (green-valley-lake.com)

Population statistics gathered online varied from 203-300, but according to 2020 data on unitedstateszipcodes.org, 410 people live within this almost 8 square mile area. Only 14% of all households are occupied, leaving 84% vacant for seasonal recreational/occasional use and the rest for sale.


To escape the intense heat of the Coachella Valley, we pack a picnic and head for the hills…


After lunch we drive through town and circle the lake.


We head back to CA-18 and Big Bear Blvd. via Green Valley Lake Road. Our stomachs and curiosity satiated, we take the time to enjoy the view we missed before.

The blue splatter beneath the hills in the distance is Lake Arrowhead…

I zoom-in on my iPhone…

Lake Arrowhead is located in the town with the same name, about 15 miles from Green Valley Lake. Nicknamed “The Alps of Southern California,” Lake Arrowhead is a tourist resort consisting of almost 18 square miles. Six private communities provide the only access to the lake. (lakearrowhead.com and en.m.wikipedia.com)


As I walk away and return to our car, I discover this cool pine tree in front of me…


Back on CA-18, we pass by Snow Valley Mountain Resort…


Crystal blue skies, evergreen trees, massive rocks, and mountain tops entertain us along the descent into Big Bear.

There’s Big Bear Lake down below…


Sometimes we stop at a pullout to smell the pines, feel the fresh air, and enjoy the scenery.

The view from the car through a dirty windshield is not too shabby either…

We are definitely not in the desert anymore!


Ah, we arrive back at Big Bear Lake…

In contrast to Green Valley Lake, Big Bear is a bustling alpine community of of 21,000 full-time residents. The fresh water lake is 7 miles long and about 1/2 mile wide. Fishing, water sports, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are popular recreational activities in spring, summer, and fall. Summer temps average 80 degrees during the day and 45 degrees at night. Winter brings about 100 inches of snowfall with temperatures in the low 40s during the day and mid 20s at night, and offers the best skiing and snowboarding experiences in Southern California. (bigbear.com)


All of a sudden we get confused. We continue to follow Big Bear Blvd/CA-18 but it does not look familiar with the way we drove in… (?) We end up on CA-38. Fortunately it intersects with 18 and takes us back to 247/Old Woman Spring Road toward 62. Ahhhh…


Back on CA-18 heading down the hills toward CA-247, Old Woman Spring Road…


Instead of taking CA-247 to CA-62 in the Yucca Valley, we decide to take Pioneertown Road to 62.

We notice an intermittent scattering of parked fire vehicles and hiking fire persons along the route. The Apple Fire is not far away…


As we descend from Yucca Valley into the Morongo Valley we are greeted with yellow skies and realize just how close we actually are to the Apple Fire!


From fresh air, cooler temps, and blue skies… to smoky breaths, triple digit temps, and yellow skies… What a difference a day trip with altitude makes!