Gold Fever Trail

4.7/5 (22 reviews)
Big Bear Lake, California (San Bernardino County)
Last Updated: 05/05/2023

Trail Information


Ghost Town
Snow Wheeling
Take an unexpected adventure through the history of Holcomb Valley's gold rush and the history behind it. During this trip, you will see abandon mines, dig sites, grave sites, pygmy cabins, and much more. So pack up the family and explore the history of Holcomb Valley.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Welcome to the historic gold country of San Bernardino National Forest. This overland route takes you through the now tranquil Holcomb Valley that was once thriving with activity during the gold rush of the 1860's. At 12 selected markers you will live the history of there area. Please keep your vehicles on the designated roads and use the parking areas at numbered stops. When walking to the historical sites off the road, please stay on the trial. William F. Holcomb left Iowa in 1850 and went west to seek his fortune in the mining camps of Northern California. Discouraged by poor luck, he drifted southward. Intrigued by rumors of a small gold discovery in the San Bernardino Mountains, Holcomb left Los Angeles in November of 1859, joining up with others, and camped in the aptly named Starvation Flats. The section behind Holcomb Campground 3N05 closes for the winter.
Snow is common in the winter, please plan ahead.

Trail Reviews

4.7/5 (22)
Official Crew
Visited: 05/05/2023

Trails are officially open
Official Crew
Temporary Closure
Visited: 03/18/2023

The forest service has deemed the San Bernardino Forest unsafe for public off-roaders to use until June 30th. For more information on this: If you disagree with the complete forest closure, please call (909) 382-2682 and ask to speak to the head ranger. You can also contact the head office in Washington,DC, and voice your concern there. (202) 912-7055 Another person you could contact your senator and express your feeling - (949) 598-5850 (Alex Padilla) or (202) 224-3121 (DC switch board) If you are unhappy with this at all, please make sure you sign up for the local off-road collations (Cal4wheel, and Corva). Feel free to reach out to them and ask what you can do. Cal4Wheel - (916) 381-8300 CORVA - 916-710-1950
Rated 4/5
Visited: 06/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

This is for the most part an easy trail with lots of good scenery. Tons of reviews to read to which I don't have a ton to add. I am only writing this review because IMO, the last section of the trail from roughly waypoint 12 to the dump down near Baldwin Lake was fairly rutty (June 2022) and I have noticed the last part leading up to the dump to becoming progressively more rocky on each trip. To me this is a great beginner trail loop but that last section requires higher clearance (i.e. stock 4x4, personally I would not try it in a stock AWD). For this alone I rated the trail harder than the current rating.
Official Crew
Rated 5/5
Visited: 05/05/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Should be fully open by now.
Rated 5/5
Visited: 01/16/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Trail Lakes and "Oh Fudge I forgot to fill up" There are some very deep puddles! I expected to be sliding around a lot more. Between the JL traction control, 4H, and 35" K02's the snow was nothing. Out of a feeling of obligation, I went into 2H and turned the traction control off to keep things interesting sometimes. When I drove through the above puddle, and recovered from the clench of suddenly dropping into deep water, I noticed my low fuel indicator had lit up. I can confirm that I am that guy. I had enough to finish the trail though. After the puddle incident I drove around the bigger trail lakes where possible.

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