You’ve probably heard of the California Gold Rush. Maybe you read about it in history class or watched a movie about it somewhere. But chances are you weren’t too interested, unless you’re about 10 years old. For some reason, 10-year old kids are simply fascinated by the idea of finding gold, and if you are bringing your children on your Big Bear vacation, you can’t miss out on the chance to visit some real abandoned gold mines.
Holcomb Valley CA is about five miles north of Big Bear, and at one time the gold mines in this region produced more of the shiny yellow stuff than in all of California! Which is saying a lot, considering the large number of people who came to seek their fortune during the Gold Rush!
History of Holcomb Valley CA
What started out as a hunting expedition in the winter of 1860 soon turned into a whole lot more. While tracking a wounded grizzly that was to be food for the week, streaks of quartz led Bill Holcomb Valley to discover significant amounts of gold. Two months later, towns were springing up all over the valley, as fortune seekers rushed to fulfill lifelong dreams of prosperity in the bountiful southern California mines.
Unfortunately, Holcomb Valley CA was very unfriendly to the miners, with winters where the snow reached 16 feet in some spots and water being more difficult to find than the gold everyone searched for. By 1862, the gold rush was over and Holcomb Valley was practically abandoned—but not for long! In 1872, a second gold rush brought prosperity back to the valley, only to fizzle out once more.
Today, the rush of the 1800s is just a memory, but you can still explore the ruins, including an old cemetery from the second gold rush. Trails in the Holcomb Valley Big Bear area are perfect for hiking, biking, or off-roading. Take your time and enjoy the beauty of the area. The sun peeking through the branches of tall pines is almost as intoxicating as discovering the sign that marks the spot of the hanging tree. Abandoned buildings make perfect photo opportunities, as do the rocky and destroyed entrances to some of the mines in the area. Stop in the Big Bear Discovery Center for a map to make your self-guided tour that much easier.
Big Bear Cabins
Book your romantic and rustic Big Bear Cabin today and discover the charm and history of the valley surrounding Big Bear. History comes to life in this neck of the woods.