3N16 - Holcomb Valley

Big Bear Lake, California (SanBernardino) Technical Rating: 1-2

Last Updated: 07-30-2017

20151122 103201%280%29v2
Status: Open
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 26.0 Miles
Category: Altitude, Desert, Forest, Overland, Snow Wheeling
Highest Elevation: 7,500 '
Duration: about 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Go: East
Nearest Town:
Big Bear Lake
Nearest Town w/ Service:
Big Bear Lake
Forest Service Road: # 3N16
Forest Service / Park District:
San Bernardino National Forest

3N16 - Holcomb Valley Highlights

Highlights: 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Big Bear Lake, California

3N16 provides a scenic, enjoyable drive for all offroad enthusiasts. At roughly 26 miles long, 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 the trail review, Gold Fever Trail.

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.

Technical rating: (1-2) Easy

Dirt road. Dry, or less than 3" water crossing depth. Some ruts. Slight grades, up to 10 degrees. 2WD under most conditions. Rain or snow may make 4WD necessary. Usually one and a half to two vehicles wide.

Read more about our rating system

Video

Directions to Trailhead

From Highway 18 in Running Springs, take Green Valley Lake Road which is roughly 2.5 miles to the dirt turn off on the left side of the road. 3N16 (34.233731, -117.089501)

 

Trailhead GPS Coordinates:

34° 14' 1.38"N
117° 5' 22.24"W

Topo Maps:

GPS Exchange File:

Download

Route Description

3N16 aka Holcomb Valley Road is the perfect trail for all off-road enthusiast 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 provide plenty of entertainment for the more experienced.

For the history of Holcomb Valley, please visit Gold Fever Trail at: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1615-gold-fever-trail

Important Note: While the road is 26 miles long, only the 11 miles from the Crab Flats Camground 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 historic 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

1: Trailhead (South End) (0.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 1: Trailhead (South End) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 1: Trailhead (South End) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 1: Trailhead (South End)

Trailhead on the south end. This is a great spot to air down and disconnect your sway bar if you plan on doing other trails. Airing down will also help make the ride a lot smoother. 34.233556, -117.089418

2: Bridge - Old Deep Water Crossing (3.8mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 2: Bridge - Old Deep Water Crossing 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 2: Bridge - Old Deep Water Crossing 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 2: Bridge - Old Deep Water Crossing

Old Deep Water Crossing. This crossing could easily get over 3 feet deep in the middle when you were able to cross the water. But now there is a bridge that takes you over the lite water flow.

See 3rd pictures for what the crossing used to be like.

3: Turn Right at 3N34 Intersection (Dishpan Springs/Crab Flats) (4.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 3: Turn Right at 3N34 Intersection (Dishpan Springs/Crab Flats) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 3: Turn Right at 3N34 Intersection (Dishpan Springs/Crab Flats) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 3: Turn Right at 3N34 Intersection (Dishpan Springs/Crab Flats)

Turn right at Crab Flat Cutoff to stay on 3N16. If you go straight, the trail takes you to Crab Flat Campground and Dishpan Springs Trail - 3N34

You can find more information for Dishpan Springs Trail at: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/783-dishpan-springs-3n34

4: Continue Straight at 3N93 (Holcomb Creek, Pacific Crest Trail, Water Crossing) (7.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 4: Continue Straight at 3N93 (Holcomb Creek, Pacific Crest Trail, Water Crossing) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 4: Continue Straight at 3N93 (Holcomb Creek, Pacific Crest Trail, Water Crossing) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 4: Continue Straight at 3N93 (Holcomb Creek, Pacific Crest Trail, Water Crossing)

Continue straight through the water crossing which is roughly 4 inch's deep. If you wish to access Holcomb Creek - 3N93 turn East. The Pacific Crest Trail crosses 3N16 between the creek and 3N93 (Pacific Crest Trail is a hiking only trail.)

You can find more information for 3N93 at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1037-holcomb-creek

5: Stay to the North at 2N06X Intersection (9.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 5: Stay to the North at 2N06X Intersection 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 5: Stay to the North at 2N06X Intersection 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 5: Stay to the North at 2N06X Intersection

Stay to the North at the trail head for Lower Largo Flats - 2N06X. 2N06X breaks off to the South of 3N16.

You can find more information for 2N06X at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1056-2n06x

6: Stay North at 3N97 Intersection (10.8mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 6: Stay North at 3N97 Intersection 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 6: Stay North at 3N97 Intersection 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 6: Stay North at 3N97 Intersection

Follow the main path which stays East/West. 3N97 is a short path with nothing on it from this side.

7: Continue Staight at 3N14 Intersection (Coxey Road) (12.4mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 7: Continue  Staight at 3N14 Intersection (Coxey Road) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 7: Continue  Staight at 3N14 Intersection (Coxey Road) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 7: Continue  Staight at 3N14 Intersection (Coxey Road)

Continue straight at 3N14. If you choose to go North, this will take you down the mountain toward Hesperia. If you go South, this will take you into Fawnskin.

For more information on 3N14, please visit: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1579-coxey-road-3n14

8: Continue Straight at 3N11 Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain) (12.5mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 8: Continue Straight at 3N11  Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 8: Continue Straight at 3N11  Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 8: Continue Straight at 3N11  Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain)

Continue straight at 3N11. This is the cut-off to White Mountain 3N17.

You can find more information for White Mountain at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/830-white-mountain

You can find more information for 3N11 at: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1881-3n11

9: Continue Straight at Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain) (14.7mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 9: Continue  Straight at  Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 9: Continue  Straight at  Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 9: Continue  Straight at  Intersection (Cut-off to White Mountain)

Continue straight. This is the other White Mountain cut-off, 3N17. 34.325608, -116.978255

You can find more information for White Mountain at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/830-white-mountain

10: Continue Straight at 3N17 Intersection (White Mountain) (15.8mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 10: Continue Straight at 3N17 Intersection (White Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 10: Continue Straight at 3N17 Intersection (White Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 10: Continue Straight at 3N17 Intersection (White Mountain)

Continue straight. This is the east most end of White Mountain, 3N17. 34.327818, -116.960621

You can find more information for White Mountain at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/830-white-mountain

11: Continue Straight at 3N54 and 3N08 Intersections (18.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 11: Continue  Straight at 3N54 and 3N08 Intersections 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 11: Continue  Straight at 3N54 and 3N08 Intersections 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 11: Continue  Straight at 3N54 and 3N08 Intersections

Continue straight at 3N54 and 3N08.

For more information on 3N08, please visit: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1584-3n08

12: Continue Straight at 3N12 Intersection (Delamar Mountain) (18.5mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 12: Continue Straight at 3N12 Intersection (Delamar Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 12: Continue Straight at 3N12 Intersection (Delamar Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 12: Continue Straight at 3N12 Intersection (Delamar Mountain)

Continue straight at 3N12.

For more information on 3N12, please visit: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/827-3n12-delamar-mountain-road

13: Homcomb Valley (19.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 13: Homcomb Valley 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 13: Homcomb Valley 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 13: Homcomb Valley

The history of Holcomb Valley goes;

Bill Holcomb was hired by other prospectors to hunt bear in the hills. On a hunting trip up Polique Canyon, he first saw Holcomb Valley off to the North just 2 miles away. The group back at Starvation Flats later named this area Holcomb's Valley. The following day, Bill and Ben Choteau (Cherokee Indian), wounded a "Monster Grizzly." The blood trail lead them to a quartz ledge which caught Bills attention. While up there, they took some large pieces of the quartz where they planned on taking back to town to test it and while washing the rock off in the stream they discovered abundant amount of gold lying in the stream bed.

The news spread quickly and by July 1860 the valley was swarming with prospectors.

14: Go Right at 3N10 Intersection (John Bull) (19.5mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 14: Go Right at 3N10 Intersection (John Bull) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 14: Go Right at 3N10 Intersection (John Bull) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 14: Go Right at 3N10 Intersection (John Bull)

Go right at 3N10 John Bull. This is the westerly side of John Bull. Many people feel this is the harder route because it is easy to get stuck on the down hills, this is if you slip off the rocks during the hard obstacles.

You can find more information for John Bull at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1045-john-bull

15: Go Left at 2N09 Intersection (Polique Canyon) (19.6mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 15: Go Left at 2N09 Intersection (Polique Canyon) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 15: Go Left at 2N09 Intersection (Polique Canyon) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 15: Go Left at 2N09 Intersection (Polique Canyon)

Go left at 2N09. If you go straight, this will take you to 2N09 - Polique Canyon (Trail Rating 1-2) and eventually drop you back on Highway 38.

You can find more information for 2N09 at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1578-2n09

16: Continue Straigt at 3N09 Intersection (Van Dusen) (21.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 16: Continue Straigt at 3N09  Intersection (Van Dusen) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 16: Continue Straigt at 3N09  Intersection (Van Dusen) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 16: Continue Straigt at 3N09  Intersection (Van Dusen)

Continue Straight at 3N09 Van Dusen (Trail Rating 1-2). This trail will drop you on Highway 38 by the Big Bear Discovery Center.

You can find more information for Van Dusen Trail at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1578-3n09

17: Miners Cabin (21.5mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 17: Miners Cabin 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 17: Miners Cabin 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 17: Miners Cabin

Old Miners Cabin from the Gold Rush in Big Bear. For more information, please visit The Big Bear Discovery Center and ask about the Gold Fever Trail.

The original cabin was burned down in November 1983. The forest service rebuilt the cabin to represent what it was once before. The original cabin only had 4 foot tall walls and at the highest point in the roof was from the ground to ceiling 6 foot.

18: Go Straight at 3N32 Intersection (Union Flat) (22.2mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 18: Go Straight at 3N32 Intersection (Union Flat) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 18: Go Straight at 3N32 Intersection (Union Flat) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 18: Go Straight at 3N32 Intersection (Union Flat)

Continue strait at 3N32. If you turn off on 3N32, this will drop you into the middle of John Bull at John Bull Gate Keeper. Prior to reaching John Bull - 3N10 (Hard), there is a trail called "The Squeeze" - 3N07A (Moderate). to the east.

You can find more information for 3N32 at: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1569-3n32

You can find more information for 3N07A the Squeeze at: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1568-the-squeeze-3n07a

You can find more information for 3N10 John Bull at: http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1045-john-bull

19: Continue straight at 3N02 Intersection (Burnt Flat) (23.8mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 19: Continue straight at 3N02 Intersection (Burnt Flat) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 19: Continue straight at 3N02 Intersection (Burnt Flat) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 19: Continue straight at 3N02 Intersection (Burnt Flat)

Continue straight at 3N02. If you go North, this will take you to the east most end of John Bull - 3N10.

You can find more information for John Bull at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/1045-john-bull

20: Stay North at 3N69 Intersection (Gold Mountain) (24.5mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 20: Stay North at 3N69  Intersection (Gold Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 20: Stay North at 3N69  Intersection (Gold Mountain) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 20: Stay North at 3N69  Intersection (Gold Mountain)

Stay North on the trail at Gold Mountain 3N69 (Hard). If you take the trail south, you will be running Gold Mountain backwards. Many people say going this direction on Gold Mountain is much easier.

You can find more information for Gold Mountain at http://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/835-gold-mountain-3n69

21: Lucky Baldwin Mine (25.2mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 21: Lucky Baldwin Mine 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 21: Lucky Baldwin Mine 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 21: Lucky Baldwin Mine

Lucky Baldwin Mine

34.303006, -116.829308

This history on the mine is gold was discovered in 1873 when Barney and Charley Carter were enroute to the Ross Mine. While camped for the night along the North Shore of Baldwin Lake, Barney went to inspect the "Shiny Stuff" in the quartz ledge immediately above their camp. His brief exploration led to the a mountain of gold ore. Elais J. "Lucky" Baldwin purchased "Carters' Quartz Hill" for $30,000.

By 1876, Baldwin had 180 men working his mine and a 40 stamp mill was in place. The concrete footings can be seen to the west. The site of the large mill and cyanide processing plant was added in 1899. The mill was in operation as late as 1923.

(Watch for the wooden structure on the right / south side of the road. This was once a Ore Bin, built in 1945.)

22: Stay South at 3N61 Intersection (Jacoby Canyon) (25.3mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 22: Stay South at 3N61 Intersection (Jacoby Canyon) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 22: Stay South at 3N61 Intersection (Jacoby Canyon) 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 22: Stay South at 3N61 Intersection (Jacoby Canyon)

Stay South at 3N61 Jacoby Canyon. If you take 3N61, this will drop you onto Highway 18 on the backside of the mountain range.

For more information on Jacoby Canyon, please visit: https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/834-3n61-jacoby-canyon

23: East End of the Trail. (26.0mi)

3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 23: East End of the Trail. 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 23: East End of the Trail. 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Waypoint 23: East End of the Trail.

East end of the trail.

34.303755, -116.822680

Access Issues

You can find out about trail closures and additional information at: Big Bear Discovery Center 41374 North Shore Drive, Highway 38 Fawnskin, CA 92333

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

Mailing address: PO Box 290 Fawnskin, CA 92333

(909) 382-2790 (voice) (TDD/TTY dial (800) 735-2922)

Camping and Lodging

Camping & Lodging: 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Big Bear Lake, California

The San Bernardino National Forest is a nearby oasis for millions of Southern Californians who want to escape for the weekend and go camping. The higher elevations of the forest mean that the summertime temperatures are cooler than the valleys below. And as an added bonus most campgrounds have shaded sites and some are near streams or lakes. Many campgrounds are adjacent to beautiful natural areas and you can find solitude on quiet wilderness trails. Some campgrounds are reserved campsites, and on weekends or holidays we definitely recommend making a reservation. To do this, visitors can go online to www.recreation.gov or call toll-free 1-877-444-6777. Most campgrounds can accommodate both tent campers and RV's. All campgrounds have picnic tables and restroom facilities, and some even have showers and other amenities. Most campsites accommodate up to 6 people and 2 tents. There may be an additional cost for more than one vehicle. The Forest Service describes camping as either "developed" (usually accessible by road and including facilities like picnic tables, restrooms and fire-rings) or "undeveloped/dispersed" (remote areas accessible only by dirt roads or trails, no facilities). During winter months some locations may be inaccessible due to snow or closed, check with the local Ranger Station for updated conditions.

More info can be found at: San Bernardino National Forest Camping

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to...

Read More

Questions & Answers

No questions have been submitted.

Trip Reports

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 07-30-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Dry

I am happy to report that 3N16 was completely open this weekend. The bridge is up as of a month ago and the east end of the trail is open too. The fire damage doesn't look very good but at least they have reopened the trail.

Road Conditions Report: I personally didn't drive the entire trail but I did navigate roughly 80% of it. In that 80% of the trail, it seemed if they have completely re-graded the entire road. It was very smooth.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 07-30-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Dry

I am happy to report that 3N16 was completely open this weekend. The bridge is up as of a month ago and the east end of the trail is open too. The fire damage doesn't look very good but at least they have reopened the trail.

Road Conditions Report: I personally didn't drive the entire trail but I did navigate roughly 80% of it. In that 80% of the trail, it seemed if they have completely re-graded the entire road. It was very smooth.

Missing profile

Michael Pechtel

Offroaded on 05-20-2017

Status: Closed

Conditions: Dry

Trip Report: 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Big Bear Lake, California

Went up today planning on going west to east as shown in the description here. Saw this sign at the trail head as soon as you turn off Green Valley Lake Rd. So the road is closed, but me and a few others made it through east to west (opposite of what it shows here) Only a couple miles heading east from crab flats is closed Definitely recommend not ignoring the signs. The road is pretty tore up from recent rains. High clearance vehicle 4wd recommended Also there is a new bridge going over the big water crossing

Missing profile

Justin Seidita

Offroaded on 05-13-2017

Status: Closed

Conditions: Dry

Low Temperature: 50° F

High Temperature: 60° F

Unfortunately 3N16 is where it splits from Crab Flats. Assuming it's from the last heavy rains. Not sure about the extent of the damage, but I hope it opens up soon.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 01-22-2017

Status: Open

Conditions: Snow

Low Temperature: 3° F

High Temperature: 23° F

What a great day. The snow ended up getting so deep that no vehicle could continue. Over the day, everyone got stuck which made for a ton of fun.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 05-01-2016

Status: Open

Conditions: Wet

Low Temperature: 35° F

High Temperature: 50° F

Trip Report: 3N16 - Holcomb Valley - Big Bear Lake, California

Took a nice cruise down 3N16 and the trial was very nice. The rain seemed to smooth out the trial making for a very nice drive. Plus on top of that, the rain also eliminated all the dust. It was a great trip.

Me in jeeps

Josh Noesser
Official Crew

Offroaded on 02-03-2016

Status: Open

Conditions: Icy

Low Temperature: 26° F

High Temperature: 43° F

Went up to go skiing but the conditions were horrible. Decided to take the truck into Holcomb Valley but that almost turned into a bad decision. The conditions were ICE (Not Icy, implying there is something else then ice). The Ice was about 6-9 inches thick and was fun but sort of stressful to drive on.

But the area is open and a lighter vehicle should be fine.

Stay In The Know!

Callout arrow

Great travel tips as well as deals, all sent directly to your inbox.

Sign up today!

Earn Extra Cash, Write For Us!

Callout arrow

Make a little extra cash while doing what you enjoy every day.

Contact us today!
<