While working during the week to fund my outdoor escapes, I love to take a quick day hike in Southern California. Our local mountains, beaches, and deserts have numerous hikes with various levels of difficulty that can be done in one day. This past Sunday a group of my friends and I took the Big Horn Mine Trail to Big Horn Mine. It is located south-west of the city of Wrightwood off Highway 2 in the San Gabriel Mountains, Los Angeles County. The start of the trail is at the Vincent Gap Parking lot. Make sure to buy an Adventure Pass from the Forest Service or you may get fined and/or towed. The passes are available from plenty of stores on the way through Wrightwood for $5 per day or $30 for a yearly pass.
The hike itself is about four miles to the mine and back. The gravel and rock lined trail is fairly narrow and in some places you will be right up against the side of the mountain. You will pass a mine outlet before reaching the actual mine. Keep walking a little further until you reach the old structure that is falling apart. You can carefully walk inside the dilapidated mine building by passing over the old wood planks to reach a gorgeous view of the valley below and take some beautiful panoramic photos.
The entrance to Big Horn Mine is a small climb to the right of the building. As you climb through, be careful of hitting your head on the wooden beams above or getting caught by any protruding metal. It’s a big step up to a wooden platform to see the entrance of the mine. You will see a small opening to the mine that is big enough to climb through. I’m not sure how far you can crawl into the mine, but I only went about 300 feet inside. Some people have left ribbons that they have used as a method of retracing their steps. Make sure to have a good flashlight with you, not just your phone light as that will not light up the dark mine well enough. There was water dripping from the ceiling of the mine creating big puddles along the way.
This is a fun adventure and a satisfying hike that I would highly recommend before it gets too cold in the mountains. I have been wanting to take this hike for a long time and glad I finally found the time for this hiking escape!