3N16 - Holcomb Valley

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4.8/5 (85 reviews)
Big Bear Lake, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 08/14/2023
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Trail Information


Altitude Category Icon Altitude
Camping Category Icon Camping
Desert Category Icon Desert
Forest Category Icon Forest
Overland Category Icon Overland
Scenic Category Icon Scenic
Snow Wheeling Category Icon Snow Wheeling
Water Category Icon Water

3N16 provides a scenic, enjoyable drive for all off-road enthusiasts. At roughly 26 miles, this overland trail will take you through the backwoods of the San Bernardino National Forest. Along with some great views, 3N16 also has a historic route for which more information can be found at Big Bear Discovery Center or Gold Fever Trail's trail review. 3N16 is the main connector between most of the trails in Big Bear, including Holcomb Creek, Dishpan Springs, John Bull, White Mountain, Gold Mountain, and many more. Just be warned that there are several water crossings along this trail that can swell up in flash flood conditions. While snow on this trail can get over 5 feet deep in the winter. Please plan accordingly and travel in pairs.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

3N16, aka Holcomb Valley Road, is the perfect trail for all off-road enthusiasts that love some overland trail rides. At about 26 miles long, the trail starts in Running Springs and goes all the way to Big Bear, ending near Baldwin Lake. 3N16 passes several hard trails such as Dishpan Springs (3N34), Holcomb Creek (3N93), 2N06X, John Bull (3N10), Gold Mountain (3N69), and many other great and exciting trails. 3N16 Holcomb Valley Road is a great trail for first-time off-roaders and also provides plenty of entertainment for the more experienced. For the history of Holcomb Valley, please visit Gold Fever Trail here. Important Note: While the road is 26 miles long, only the 11 miles from the Crab Flats Campground junction with 3N34 to Forest OHV Road 3N56 are open to non-street legal vehicles. Reminders: 1. Non-street legal vehicles cannot use the portion of 3N16 to Green Valley Lake Road. 2. Non-street legal vehicles cannot use the portion of 3N16 from 3N56 to the Dump Access Road. 3. Street-legal vehicles only on roads or trails into the communities of Big Bear, Fawnskin, and Green Valley Lake. You can find more information on the historical background of the area at the Big Bear Discovery Center: Hours of Operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 5 days/week Closed Tuesdays & Wednesdays Located at: 40971 North Shore Drive/ Hwy 38, Fawnskin, CA 92333 Phone: (909) 382-2790

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (85)
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/11/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Overall an easy trail with beautiful views. There are two spots that are really washed out. Those were the only two spots I had to switch to 4x4.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/02/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Took this trail east to west. A little more chewed up than normal, and lots of mud.
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Official Crew
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Rated 5/5
Visited: 08/14/2023

Just ran part of the trail this weekend, same old same old. I would say the last month has been hard on the trails though.
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Visited: 08/12/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I'd still rate this one easy, but if you are not in a 4x4 take note that the previous big winter snows *have* had an effect on this road, and it's on the harder end of "easy" than it used to be. We started at the east end, near Green Valley Lake, and drove through to Fawnskin. Stopping to camp overnight in order to view the Perseids. We last drove this in 2020, and it was a piece of cake, even in our little Subaru Forester. Still totally doable this time, but there were definitely sections that required slow and careful driving, and careful line choice. Last time we drove this I would have agreed with the description that it's easily doable in a 2wd with high clearance, but based on this last drive it felt like there were at least a few sections that would have been pretty challenging without power to all 4 wheels. Most likely still doable, but if you've driven the road before, and have a 2wd, AWD crossover of some sort, and not a 4x4, expect it to be more challenging than you recall. That actually made it more fun for me, but not everyone is going to feel that way.
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Visited: 07/02/2023
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

As previously highlighted by fellow members, it is apparent that the trail has exhibited considerable rutting, with certain sections displaying particularly deep depressions. Notably, markers 1-6, when traversed from the West to the East, presented the most significant challenges in this regard. However, despite these obstacles, my spouse and I thoroughly enjoyed our expedition. Commencing our journey at marker 1, we proceeded to navigate our way to marker 8, before diverging onto 3N14 and descending towards Fawnskin, situated in the vicinity of Big Bear Lake. I would rate this trail a 2.5 in the difficulty category.

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