City Escapes:  San Bernardino, California

Text: Tim Kessel • Photography: Tim Kessel

This route takes you to one of California’s most picturesque lakes. The return leg of this twisty, mountainous escape runs along the aptly named Rim of the World Hwy. It is hard to beat the mix of forests, lakes, and million-dollar views on this short city escape. The ride may just change your perception of Southern California. The views are incredible throughout the route, and Big Bear makes for the perfect spot for lunch halfway through the ride. Due to the elevation, this is a spring, summer, and early fall trip. San Bernardino traffic is most often heavy, but the gridlock thins out nicely in the mountains. Big Bear is a popular recreational destination, though, so weekend traffic can reflect this.

This mountain route demands focus and attention. The roads are curvy and unpredictable, and riding too fast can prove dangerous. You should take it slow and enjoy the ride.  The tarmac on this escape can be just as ever-changing as the topography. The road’s composition and maintenance is a mixed bag. Gravel, potholes, and tar-snakes can be found in stretches, but then again so can miles of perfect pavement.

Lunch Stop

Peppercorn Grille serves all-American steaks together with a mix of Italian- and Asian-inspired dishes from pizza to seafood. They’ll have a treat ready for all tastes. Find it at 553 Pine Knot Ave, Big Bear Lake, CA, (909) 866-5405, www.peppercorngrille.com