Big Bear Discovery Center

Let's Go!

The Big Bear Discovery Center is your gateway to adventure and discovery in the great outdoors.


The Big Bear Discovery Center is your gateway to adventure and discovery in Mountaintop Ranger District of the San Bernardino National Forest. The Discovery Center is an educational and informational center and is located within the heart of the Big Bear Valley. This nearby oasis is a one to three hour drive from anywhere in Southern California. Our goal is to ensure your visit to the Big Bear Discovery Center heightens your awareness on how to become a more responsible caretaker of the national forest while increasing your enjoyment and knowledge of California’s most recreated forestland, the San Bernardino National Forest.

The programs and events are conducted in partnership with the Southern California Mountains Foundation (SCMF), a non-profit organization committed to the success of the San Bernardino National Forest.

General visitor information services and recreation fee pass sales ("Adventure Pass" and "America the Beautiful" annual federal lands pass) are available through the Southern California Mountains Foundation.

Alternatively, Adventure Passes can also be purchased in the area at about 30 local businesses, which are listed in our vendor database (search for Big Bear and Fawnskin separately in the "Search all columns" box).

For America the Beautiful Interagency Recreation Passes (e.g. Senior, Military, Access, 4th Grade, etc), please contact the Forest Headquarters 909-382-2601 to arrange for an appointment. San Bernardino National Forest 602 S. Tippecanoe Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 92408

Physical Address - 40971 North Shore Drive, Highway 38, Fawnskin, CA 92333

Mailing Address- P.O. Box 290, Fawnskin, CA 92333

Located on North Shore Drive (Highway 38), 3 miles east of Fawnskin and 1 1/4 miles west of Stanfield Cutoff. Look for the Discovery Center Sign on the north side of the highway.

Hours of Operation- Thursday through Monday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Phone (909) 382-2790

TTY (800)735-2922

Wood Gathering Permits

Personal fuelwood gathering permit season begins April 1st thru March 31st of the following year. Wood permit telephone inquiries are welcomed.

As of 01/16/2023, wood gathering permits are temporarily not available at the Big Bear Discovery Center/the Mountaintop Ranger District.

To request a wood gathering permit to be mailed to you, please see the instructions below. There is no online form to be filled out.

  • Mail your fuelwood permit requests to San Jacinto Ranger District, P.O. Box 518, Idyllwild, CA 92549, Attn: Collection Officer. Include in your request (no form) : Full name, USPS mailing address, physical residential address, cord quantity and day contact telephone number. Check or Money Order payment should be made out to USDA Forest Service.
  • Appointments are required for in-person permit purchase at the San Bernardino National Forest Headquarters 602 S. Tippecanoe Avenue, San Bernardino, CA 9248. Please call 909-382-2601 for an appointment.

Scheduled Closed Days

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