Gold Fever Trail

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) offers a very wonderful and easy to follow self-guided auto tour brochure of the GOLD FEVER TRAIL, which was prepared by the Forest Service of the San Bernardino National Forest .  When the text is italicized, I have directly copied their content from this brochure.  You can get this brochure from the Big Bear Discovery Center , P.O. Pox 66, Fawnskin , CA 92333 .  Their phone number is 909-866-3437.  This is a great self-guided auto tour and for the most part, the trails and paths are fairly easy to walk.

    Welcome to the historic gold country of San Bernardino National Forest .  This 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 are invited to get out of your vehicle and walk to the sites described in this brochure.

    This area supports a number of rare and unique species and their special habitats.  Please keep your vehicles or bicycles on designated roads and use the parking areas at numbered stops.  When walking to historical sites off the road, please stay on the trail.  Your attention and care while in Holcomb Valley will help ensure the survival of the area’s special plants.

Gold Fever Trail Self-Guided Auto Tour
Belleville Settlement


    Set your trip odometer to “0” as you leave from the front gate of the Big Bear Discovery Center .  Mileage shown at each stop is the distance from the Center.  Turn right onto HWY 38, drive 0.8 mile and turn right on Polique Canyon Road – 2N09.  The tour is 10.9 miles over dirt roads, and 8.6 miles back to the Discovery Center via HWY 38.  Allow 3 hours for the nearly 20 mile round-trip.

    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 (on the south side of Stanfield Cutoff in Big Bear Valley).   

To help conserve the rare and unique plant species this area supports, please keep your vehicles on roads and please stay on designated trails at the Gold Fever Trail stops.

1. Holcomb View Trail - 2. Last Chance Placer
Wilbur's Grave (Not on the tour)
3. Two Gun Bill's Saloon - 4. Jonathan Tibbett's Grasshopper Quartz Mill
5. Hangman's Tree - 6. Original Gold Diggings - 7. Belleville - 8. Arrasters
9. Ross' Grave - 10. Pygmy Cabin Site - 11. Metzger Mine
12. Gold Mountain A.K.A. Lucky Baldwin Mine