Big Bear Valley was first occupied by the Serrano Indians approximately 3,000 years ago. In 1845, while in pursuit of Indians, Benjamin D. Wilson discovered and named Bear Valley because "the place was alive with bears!" In 1860 William Holcomb was hunting bear and discovered gold instead! What followed was Southern California's largest gold rush.
Big Bear's first dam, completed in 1884, was soon followed by the Valley's first hotel in 1888. In 1949 the first ski resort opened and Big Bear Lake soon became Southern California's favorite mountain getaway.
Hollywood also has a history in Big Bear. Since the filming of "The Call of the North" in 1914, so many motion pictures
have been shot in Big Bear Valley that it has been
called "Hollywood's back lot."
"Paint Your Wagon," "The Parent Trap," "Bonanza,"
"Kissin' Cousins," "Yukon Gold" and "Dr. Dolittle" are just
a few of the memorable films that have been shot on
location in Big Bear Valley.