Three Differences Between Big Bear Lake
and Lake Arrowhead
Big Bear Lake is a large public lake with two public boat launch ramps. There are six marinas that offer boat rentals, including power boats and pontoon boats. Water skiing, fishing, and parasailing are all permitted. Swimming is permitted at Meadow Park where a lifeguard is on duty when the weather is warm.
Lake Arrowhead is smaller than Big Bear Lake and its use is restricted to homeowners that live on the perimeter of the lake community known as Arrowhead Woods. Visitors can access the lake on the Arrowhead Queen by taking a paid boat tour and can water ski by making arrangements with the McKenzie Water Ski School.
Snow Sports and Activities
Big Bear's elevation, which averages over 7,000 feet above sea level, is home to two first-class ski resort, Snow Summit and Big Bear Mountain Resort. Both resorts can manufacture snow when necessary.
Lake Arrowhead, at a lower elevation than Big Bear, has far less snow. The closest ski resort is Snow Valley in Running Springs which is run by Big Bear Mountain Resort.
Big Bear has its own community airport located in Big Bear City. The airport operates 24 hours each day and has operated continuously since 1928. The general aviation airport has one runway and 142 hangar spaces located in 31 buildings.
Lake Arrowhead does not currently have an operating airport. As of 2023, the Lake Arrowhead Airport is closed.