Growing up, I used to go back in the woods with my father to look for gold. Most of the time we dug up dirt from rivers, but occasionally we would go into some of the old mines left over from miners in the 19th century (at least the ones that were deemed stable by the government).
Big Bear is riddled with old mines and decaying log cabins dating back to the late 1800's during the days of the American gold rush. Whole towns used to exist our in the middle of the forest with big mining operations nearby bringing in a steady cash flow. But, as must happen with all civilizations great and small, time took it's toll and the memories, the thoughts of all those who worked and lived, loved and hurt, faded away to nothing more than the dead remains of log cabins, a couple charred fireplaces, a small museum, and a few legends & tall tales of betrayal and deceit...and of hidden stashes of gold buried and never returned for.
The museum is a collection of all the artifacts left over from that era. There are a many photos of the people, the actual objects they used in daily life, and even an intact log cabin that has some of the furniture still in it. A bed, a baby cradle, a kitchen...all roughly hewn from hunks of old wood long ago. It's an interesting place, but never seems to be open. It only opens it's doors to visitors in the summertime, and then only for 5 or so hours a day.
I guess you can take a tour in a western style carriage, for fun or for special occasions! didn't ride it but will next time I go
It was raining the weekend we were there (thunderstorm and all), so we didn't get to really hike with the kids but we drove all around the lake, it's beautiful!
There are campgrounds all round Big Bear Lake. We went camping one summer and it was a lot of fun. Clean air, good food, good friends--can't really beat that!
I came across this lamp post which seemed to be wearing a hat made of icicles. I had to take a snapshot.
This is the sign I mentioned before that you don't want to pass if you're looking for the Frontier Lodge. Otherwise a nice spot for a photo-op. This is Tony and Marisa.
It was quite gray and gloomy on the way up, but so cold, snowy and wintry that we were stoked. Even moreso when it all cleared up by the next morning.