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Welcome to Bonanza: Scenery of the Ponderosa

Big Bear Lake
San Bernadino National Forest

Big Bear Lake Photo 1
Big Bear Lake: these beautiful blue waters were seen from the higher mountains in many Bonanza episodes.

Baldwin Lake Photo 2Big Bear Lake Photo 3Big Bear  Lake Photo 4
To see enlargements, please click on the photos!

       Location filming at Big Bear Lake region was utilized for the main run of the series. It rests in the San Bernadino National Forest, 160 miles east of Los Angeles. Its elevation is 6,750 feet above sea level. The region was more accessable and closer for outdoor filming than Lake Tahoe. The first location shoot at Big Bear was for "The Newcomers" in July of 1959.

       "The Newcomers" was the first show filmed at Big Bear in July of 1959 with Dan Blocker and Inger Stevens in the spotlight. The second episode filmed was "The Hanging Posse" in late September, with shooting at Cedar Lake and higher above at the Skyline Drive region. Other segments were shot downwind in the desert regions with the Pinyon Pines. The outdoor segments of "The Last Hunt" were filmed at Cedar Lake and the ridge shots at Grandview Point in November of 1959.

       The cast and crew returned several years later to film cuts for "The Debt" in May of 1965. Cedar Lake was used once again for most of the shots. Just up the trail a little ways is a spectacular vista that overlooks the lake. The climax of the episode was shot atop the vista. It starts off as Wiley is looking for his outlaw father, just as Joe is looking to stop Wiley from harming him.

       They have a conversation atop the vista, which results in a fist fight, and Joe beats him. He winds up capturing his father and finds Annie safe and sound. Wiley recovers from the fight and returns to kill his father at the vista. Joe and Annie argue with Wiley that killing his father isn't going to accomplish anything. Joe takes custody of their father. He and Annie decide to start a new life and they say goodbye to Joe.

       Filmed outdoor segments of "The Other Son" were shot at Big Bear in June of 1965. The story opens up with Ben riding out of Cedar Lake and then cuts to Baldwin Lake. This locale is where he and Sheriff Walker converse about the explosives and Ben is forced to take them back into Nevada. The segments of Watson's pack trip hauling the explosives on the ridgetrail is above Cedar Lake. It leads up to the scenes of Ben safely containing the leaking jar of nitroglycerin. The other half of the outdoor shots in the story were filmed at Lake Tahoe the next week.

       The cast and crew returned in January of 1969 to film the outdoor segments for "The Fence" with guest stars John Anderson and J. D. Cannon. The shoot was in the dead of winter and it went smoothly at Cedar Lake. In July of 1970, the cast and crew returned to film outdoor segments for "Thornton's Account" at Cedar Lake. This story is the most colorful of all the episodes filmed at the region. The cast and crew returned to Cedar Lake in January of 1971 to film the majority of "Winter Kill". The guest stars were Glenn Corbett, Clifton James and Sheilah Wells. The snow was abound in all directions and well past the knees.

       "Second Sight" was the last episode filmed at Big Bear in October of 1971. Locales such as Cedar Lake and the vista directly above it were filmed. The other half of the story was filmed at Franklin Lake. This beautifiul and pristine region has served for a lovely backdrop in film history since 1914.

Big Bear Lake Photo 5
A view of Big Bear Lake from above the Cedar Lake property.  Across from the lake is Delamar Mountain, a very distinct landmark identifying Big Bear Lake.

Big Bear Lake Photo 6Big Bear Lake Photo 7Big Bear  Lake Photo 8
Big Bear Lake Photo 9
To see more enlargements, please click on the photos above!

DIRECTIONS (from Los Angeles): Take the 10 east to the Running Springs exit (junction of Hwy 30 and Hwy 330), and drive on the Hwy 30 until you turn off onto Hwy 330, and proceed until you reach Hwy 18 and see the dam of the lake, and you are there.

(From the High Desert): Take Hwy 18 from Cajon Pass, along this route, will take you into the back side of Big Bear Lake, and Hwy 18 runs along the West side of the lake and Hwy 38 runs on the East side of the lake.

Click to see photos!To see photos, visit the Movie Making Locations Website!

Hot  Link!Welcome to the Big Bear Lake Film Office!

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