Okay, so I still haven't sold you on paying a visit to the Holcomb Valley. Go to the Discovery Center and ask for a map of the Gold Fever Trail Self-Guided Tour. Besides giving you a brief overview of the area's gold rush history, it will guide you to some of the more interesting sites.
When I visited the former gold diggings as a child, I recall collapsed buildings. Now, however, there's little left besides the reminents of a few buildings. For instance, Two Gun Bill's Saloon was once a large log structure that served the area as a saloon, dance hall and bordello.
The Hangman's Tree, a large Juniper, looks like something out of Poltergeist! Reportedly, 40 to 50 murders occurred in this now-peaceful mountain meadow. Although there seems to be some dispute as to whether or not this is the actual Hanging Tree, legend has it that every time a man was hanged there, the branch was sawed off to mark the occasion. This Juniper has a large number of sawed off branches, so who knows!
We hiked up a trail to see the original gold diggings, which we enjoyed very much. We also took a side trip to visit Wilbur's grave and pond. Wilbur was one of the original miners in the area, and his gravesite is covered by a mound of pine cones. Nearby is the small lake named for him, a beautiful high meadow marsh and small pond filled with vegetation -- a very nice surprise to be sure.
Don't miss the remains of Lucky Baldwin's gold mine. The stamp mill operated until 1923, and much of the equipment remains. Baldwin became a famous historical figure in California history. Baldwin Park, for instance, is named for him. Another tidbit of Baldwin history is that he married the daughter of a Mexican rancho owner, thus inheriting a great deal of land. Lucky Baldwin built the house used on the t.v. show Fantasy Island and lived there with his bride. The house in the area known as Santa Anita is now the Arboretum, and the beautiful Victorian house has been preserved.