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Roads and Transportation


Tire Chains Required

Travel to and from the Big Bear Valley requires special attention to keep you and fellow motorists safe. From October through May, vehicles to Big Bear MUST carry tire chains.  Cable “chains” are cheap and break easily – real chains are recommended.

Depending on road conditions,  R1 through R4 chain restrictions may be required for SR 18, SR 38 or SR 330.   

During the winter months, motorists may encounter traction chain controls in the mountain areas within California. When chain controls are established, signs will be posted along the road indicating the type of requirement. 

  • Requirement 1 (R-1):  Chains are required on all vehicles except passenger vehicles and light-duty trucks under 6,000 pounds gross weight and equipped with snow tires on at least two drive wheels. Chains must be carried by vehicles using snow tires. All vehicles towing trailers must have chains on one drive axle. Trailers with brakes must have chains on at least one axle.
  • Requirement 2 (R2):  Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles except four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles with snow-tread tires on all four wheels.
    NOTE: (Four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles must carry traction devices in chain control areas.)
  • Requirement 3 (R3):   Chains or traction devices are required on all vehicles, no exceptions.
  • Requirement 4 (R4):  Only emergency vehicles allowed on roads.

Caltrans Quick Map

Before you head up the mountain and while you travel, check   Caltrans Quick Map for updates on accidents, chain restrictions, road backups and the location of Caltrans snow plows. 

Mountain Transit – It’s FREE and Widely Available

Once you have arrived in Big Bear, park your car and use Mountain Transit.  By doing so, you will help reduce traffic, air pollution, and your stress level!  Mountain Transit buses cover the entire Big Bear Valley with lots of routes and pick-up spots.

See buses and routes.  PLEASE, don’t drink and drive, or fire up a doobie. Leaving a local watering hole, hop on Mountain Transit or reserve a ride on Dial a Ride.

Be Courteous to Mountain Residents, CHP and CalTrans

Big Bear is our home. Please do not throw trash around – put it in a proper receptacle.  Park only where it is legal to do so. Be nice to residents and business owners – it is a busy season and we are doing our best to serve you.

Be courteous to CHP deputies and CalTrans workers – they are there to keep the roads and YOU safe!  

Snow Play is NOT Allowed on Roadways! 

Pay attention to the No Parking signs on roadways and in Big Bear.  There are stiff fines for those who do.  It is dangerous for you and motorists and slows down traffic. 


It's the Mountains

Travel to Big Bear requires patience and extreme caution in the winter when there may be snow, black ice or rock landslides.


Dial 911

Sheriff (non-emergencies)


Fire Department (non-emergencies)


Getting Around Town - Use Mountain Transit

Avoid Big Bear Boulevard traffic – Use Mountain Transit Bus. Shuttles, Trolley and Dial a Ride