At one time the most important camp on the Mokelumne River, Big Bar disappeared when the gold gave out and the miners left for the richer diggings of Mokelumne Hill. The spot was first mined during 1848, at which time it was almost impossible to cross the wild Mokelumne River. To remedy this situation, a whaleboat ferry was established in 1849, which operated until 1852 when it was swept away in a flood. A toll bridge was built to replace the ferry and it did a booming business until it was swept away by the flood of 1862. Following that disaster, a somewhat higher bridge was built which served the area for many years after.
Big Bar is located on Hwy 49, but all that remains of its Gold Rush heritage is the river that runs past this old mining site.