How to Spend a Day at the Oak Glen Preserve

The towering peaks of the San Bernardino Mountains coupled with the variety of lush flora and fauna of Southern California create a beautiful natural environment that practically begs to be explored. Thanks to the efforts of various preserves, you can easily experience this pristine paradise, and one of the best preserves to visit in Southern California is the Oak Glen Preserve.  

The Oak Glen Preserve

graphic with text "big bear lake vacation guide"Visit the Oak Glen Preserve, and you’ll discover over 2,000 acres of tranquil Southern Californian natural beauty. You’ll get a front-row seat to stunning panoramas at this preserve tucked into the foothills of the majestic San Bernardino Mountains. The Oak Glen Preserve is managed by The Wildlands Conservancy (TWC)—an organization that has established the largest nonprofit nature preservation system in the state of California.

Admission to all TWC preserves, including the Oak Glen Preserve, is completely free. Additionally, there is plenty of onsite parking at the Oak Glen Preserve, so you won’t have to worry about where to leave your car. Hours at the Oak Glen Preserve are from 8 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. April through October and from 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. November through March.  

Things to Do at the Oak Glen Preserve

Botanic Garden

You’ll encounter the Southern California Montane Botanic Garden at the entrance of Oak Glen Preserve. The garden includes hundreds of plant species typical of the botanically diverse San Bernardino Mountains, and there are plans to expand the gardens in the future. Try to visit during springtime to enjoy the full beauty of the blooming wildflowers!

Hiking Trails

There are two scenic trails you can hike that meander through the Oak Glen Preserve: the Main Loop Trail or the Main Loop Trail with spur trails. At 2 miles long, the Main Loop Trail is great if you just want to take a good walk. The trail is fairly easy with plenty of shade and places to sit, but be sure to bring a sturdy pair of shoes and a bottle of water.

If you’re looking to spend more time exploring the preserve, the spur trails will bring you past tranquil ponds and through groves of trees. After your extensive 4.8-mile hike through the preserve, recharge with a picnic at one of the public areas.

Before you go: take a look at the trail map of the Oak Glen Preserve

Los Rios Rancho

Los Rios Rancho is Southern California’s largest historic apple ranch, saved by The Wildlands Conservancy over 20 years ago. Thanks to these efforts, the ranch continues the operations that began in 1906. Today, you can enjoy a variety of farm-related activities, including everything from delicious food and seasonal fruit picking to lovely nature trails and country dances.

The best time to visit Los Rios Rancho is anytime in the spring through the fall, as produce (and your ability to pick it) is dependent upon seasonality. Apple picking at the Oak Glen Preserve is a popular activity during the fall—not only will you enjoy the freshest apples possible, but the gorgeous scenery makes for a dreamy backdrop.  

Unwind in a Luxurious Cabin

view from deck of cabin rentalAfter a day of enjoying the beauty of the Oak Glen Preserve, retreat from the city to a charming mountain escape. Take a scenic drive through the San Bernardino Mountains, and after just over an hour, you’ll come upon Big Bear Lake. Our beautiful town provides the quiet solitude of a mountain town while still giving you access to a variety of entertainment. Whether you want to spend a day on the lake, at the ski slopes, or at the Village, you’ll never be without something to do here.

Our luxury cabins are outfitted with everything you need and more for the perfect vacation. Be sure to take a look at all of our properties—you’re sure to find something that is just right for you!

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