North American Bike Park Review Tour

Snow Summit Bike Park Review

Looking to restore their once world-famous legacy as the DH capital of the world, Snow Summit Bike Park has been hard at work building up their mountain bike park to entice the massive population of riders from Southern California and beyond. Located in Big Bear Lake, California, Snow Summit has spent nearly ten years creating a well-rounded trail network for everything from advanced to new riders. For Drew Rohde, the second stop of our tour was like a homecoming of sorts as his first DH races took place at Snow Summit back in the late ’90s when the AmCup and NORBA circuits were drawing huge crowds. After a long time away, we were excited to check out the town, activities, and park more than two decades later.
With a summit elevation of 8,200 feet, each lap offers the rider 1,200 feet of vertical drop. Riders climb the peak via a slow-moving chair lift that offers a beautiful view of the lake behind and the San Bernardino National Forest ahead. The park typically operates between May-October with 18 miles of trail and access to another 60+ miles of XC trails. Six trails are accessed via three lifts with 50% beginner trails, 10% intermediate, 38% advanced, and 2% pro.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Snow Summit Bike Park


Snow Summit bike park has a pretty long season thanks to Southern California’s typically dry weather, the downside to that is regularly riding dry and dusty trails that tend to develop braking holes and bumps. Despite the challenges faced by the trail crew, Snow Summit diggers do their best to stay on top of the high demand for their trails. Some of the crowd favorites are Party Wave, Westridge, and Miracle Mile for advanced trails and Going Green and Turtle Trail for the beginner riders in the park.

Snow Summit bike park definitely favors machine built flow trails over raw tech as a majority of their trails showcase large berms, rollers, and man-made jumps and drops. Miracle Mile is probably their most natural DH-track and will take a few runs to learn well enough to charge full speed truly.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Snow Summit Bike Park

We took a GoPro POV run on Turtle Trail to show some of the newer riders out there what to expect on some of the more entry-level terrains. It’s a relatively low-grade affair with lots of pumps, berms, and rolling tabletops. It’s definitely not a very exciting trail for advanced riders or downhill bikes but offers a good chance to learn how to navigate berms and bike park terrain if you’re new to the game.

Party Wave is definitely one of, if not the most popular trail on the mountain and features a very popular section called Muscle Beach. The trail features a large assortment of step-downs, tables, step-ups, and drops. It’s certainly an advanced level trail, so beginners should be aware the lips are large, and riders will be coming down at high rates of speed. Be safe and conscious as you make your way down or check out the track for the first time and don’t stand on jumps. However, Snow Summit bike park made an effort to make everything rollable and friendly.

Snow Summit’s bike park trail network is far from extensive for the size of the mountain and slope they have, so we’re hopeful that the mountain will continue growing, but we understand the Forest Service isn’t always the easiest to work with. That being said, we’ve since learned that the USFS has approved a new 1.5 mile double black downhill trail called 10-ply that should be opening up later this summer.

While meeting with some of the trail crew, we also learned that Snow Summit’s sister mountain, Bear Mountain is hoping to open up several trails that will be accessible by users of Snow Summit bike park, effectively doubling the options for trail building terrain. We’re really excited about this news. Equally exciting is the new dual slalom track currently under construction that will be followed up with a new race series that will be bringing slalom racing back to the slopes of Snow Summit! The base of the mountain also features a large jump line, mulch jump, and quarter pipe, among other features, that keep riders busy and progressing, and entertain the chair lift riders.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Snow Summit Bike Park


The village at Snow Summit bike park isn’t large. However, a nice food court area offers a respite from the sun and dust while other fun and games await children looking for something to do. If you’re traveling with non-riders, the rest of your crew can take a ride up with you on the scenic sky chair for some mountain top hiking, mine for treasures in a water flume, jump around on the Euro-bungee or ride a zip line. Of course, there’s always the option to hike some of the trails under your own power. Snow Summit recently opened a hiking specific trail that goes from the base to the mountain top restaurant and trails on the ridge top.


Snow Summit also boasts a few restaurants on-site, so if you don’t want to pack along a cooler, you can grab a quick bite on top of the summit or the village below. Both offer tasty meals at reasonable mountain resort rates. The summit restaurant is our favorite, with the typical BBQ food as well as Greek food.

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Snow Summit Bike Park


If you’re ever on Instagram, then you’ll know Snow Summit brings out some relics in the bike and gear world! Our suggestion would be to bring a bike in the 140-180 range; however a DH bike can be ridden depending on your trail selection and riding style. Our crew brought along some Trek Session 9.9s and some Trek Slash and Remedy trail bikes. On some of the trails, riders of the smaller bikes were carrying more speed and having more fun, however when it came time to hit some of the rowdier terrains, the Sessions were leaving the enduro bikes in their dust. Our bike of choice would be something like the Trek Slash, but it all depends on whether you’re there for the jumps or the tech.


One of our favorite things about Big Bear is the affordability. Lodging and dining are both reasonable and make it a great place to visit. Our first night in town, we opted for a campsite nearby; however, we quickly upgraded to a local Airbnb owned by a mountain biker. It was beyond spacious and less than ten minutes from town and the lift. You can check out the fantastic cabin we stayed at here. If you’ve got a big group traveling with you so you can split the cost, it’ll cover all your wants and more with a hot tub, garage, kitchen, and comfortable sleeping accommodations.


Big Bear Lake has a lot more to offer than the bike park. We stopped at the Alpine Slide for some drag racing fun and learned there is also a new outdoor go-kart track and ropes climbing course opening east of town. In terms of dining options, Big Bear Lake isn’t exactly a location for the culinary arts but offers some excellent mountain town grub around. The Grizzly Manor Cafe is Chili Dog’s favorite breakfast place, and although they have some killer grub, it’s a small spot with a big line, so get there early. Pro tip: you can also go on Yelp to reserve a place as you drive up. The chorizo scramble and blob are some of the favorites. Keep an eye out for a Loam Wolf sticker on the walls of this eclectic place! We also love our favorite Italian place in town, Maggio’s. The owner is a mountain biker, and her staff cooks up some fantastic pizza and calzones.

If you’re looking for things to do off the mountain, the Big Bear area offers some incredible hiking, off-roading, moto riding, and lake activities. If you’re up for a weekend in the mountains, there’s more than enough to keep you busy in and out of the bike park!

North American Bike Park Review Tour - Snow Summit Bike Park

The Wolf’s Last Word

Big Bear Lake is a mountain town with a great vibe and a lot of character. The downtown is a safe, walkable destination with plenty of shops and restaurants to keep your family or riding crew entertained. The bike park is a bit short on trail offerings, and we hope they continue to expand, but as a one or two day stop, it’s certainly a fun spot to check out. Riders who enjoy jump lines and perfecting their airborne style will like the mountain more than all-out downhillers, but that may be changing with the soon to be opened 10-Ply DH track.

Our ideal suggestion for those traveling from beyond the greater Los Angeles area is to visit Snow Summit in conjunction with SkyPark, which we reviewed in our first episode here. With ticket prices between $36 and $45, it’s a relatively reasonably priced way to get some lift-assisted laps in. If you’re a SoCal resident or plan on riding a lot, a season pass for $409 covers your visits to Snow Summit and Mammoth Mountain.


Trails: 7/10

Affordability: 10/10

Food: 8/10

Nightlife: 5/10

Lodging: 10/10

Camping: 10/10

Off Mountain Activities: 9/10

For more information, pricing and trail maps, visit

Snow Summit’s Website

The House We Stayed In

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North American Bike Park Review Tour
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North American Bike Park Review Tour
North American Bike Park Review Tour
North American Bike Park Review Tour
North American Bike Park Review Tour


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