Big Bear Lake was inhabited by the indigenous Serrano Indians for over 2,000 years before it was explored by Benjamin Wilson and his party.
Once populated by only the natives and the grizzly bears, from which the area received its name, the population of the Big Bear Valley grew rapidly during the Southern California Gold Rush from 1861 to 1912.
In the summer of 1968, Caltech began construction of Big Bear Solar Observatory (BBSO) located on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.
Due to extensive rain and snow, the lake rose several feet and BBSO was surrounded by water at the time construction was completed using makeshift barges in May 1970.
This resort was followed with others that strived to be the best by creating a country club atmosphere complete with the amenities required to lure the Hollywood celebrities of the time including Cecil B. It was also a popular place for shooting on location, as they did for the filming of the 1920 version of Last of the Mohicans and a number of Bonanza episodes in the 1960s at Cedar Lake.