Big Bear is near the site of Southern California’s largest gold strike. While the gold mines stopped operating decades ago, people can still catch the fever and experience what it was like to find gold.
Gold panning events are available in several locations in Big Bear Valley throughout the summer season. Some are free, some have a fee.
It may not be real gold out there, but the glitter is real. Want to pan for gold or other treasures? Stop by one or more of these locations and give it a try.
• Big Bear Discovery Center gold panning events, 10 a.m. Saturdays, Aug. 17, 24 and 31. Learn how to pan for gold using real panning equipment. The gold is pyrite. Participants can take home their findings along with a handout and certificate. Big Bear Discovery Center, 40971 North Shore Drive, Fawnskin. 909-382-2790, www.mountainsfoundation.org.
• Big Bear Valley Historical Museum, open Wednesdays, Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays through the second weekend of September, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Be sure to check out the stamp mill and gold mining equipment, and watch blacksmith demonstrations while you are there. Big Bear Valley Historical Museum, 800-B Greenway Drive, Big Bear City. www.bigbearhistory.org.
• Snow Summit’s Summit Mining Co., Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pint-sized prospectors enjoy sifting through sand and rocks in hopes of striking it rich. Grab a bag of mining rough where gemstones, arrowheads and other fun finds are hidden. Located in the Snow Summit base area, 880 Summit Blvd., Big Bear Lake. 844-462-2327, www.bigbearmountainresort.com.
• Gold Rush Mining Adventures, daily, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pan for rocks, minerals, fossils and geodes and visit the Western town. Gold Rush Mining Adventures, 40016 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. 909-866-5678, www.goldrushminingadventures.com.