The elevation of a location tells us how high it is in relation to the mean sea level of Earth. Big Bear's elevation is 6,752 feet (2,058 m), making it a relatively high location, especially for the state of California, which features many low-lying major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, which have elevations of 53 feet (16 m) and 285 feet (87 m), respectively. The two highest points around Big Bear are the nearby ski resorts of Snow Summit and Bear Mountain. Snow Summit has a highest elevation of 8,174 feet (2,491 m), while the highest elevation at Bear Mountain is 8,805 feet (2,684 m).
California is the 11th highest state in the United States in terms of its mean elevation. The mean elevation of California is 2,900 feet (880 m), with its highest point being Mount Whitney, which stands at an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m). The lowest point in the state of California is the Badwater Basin, located in Death Valley, which is actually 279 feet (85 m) below sea level. The highest town or city in California is Mammoth Lakes, located in Mono County and having an elevation of 7,920 feet (2,414 m). Compared with Mammoth Lakes, Big Bear is over 1,000 feet lower, but it remains one of the most elevated inhabited locations in California.
As well as aforementioned major cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, Big Bear has a higher elevation than many other big locations all around the state of California. San Diego has an elevation of 62 feet (19 m), while the state capital of Sacramento has an elevation of 30 feet (9.14 m). This shows that many major cities in California have very low elevations as they are mostly based on or near the Pacific Coast. Big Bear differs so greatly in elevation to these areas as it is located relatively far inland.