Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Dogs allowed Rating: 7-8 San Gabriel Mountains Season: Fall/Early Winter Season: Summer

Big Horn Mine


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As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. Guidebook!

Big Horn Mine
Mt. Baldy from the trail to Big Horn Mine

Big Horn Mine

  • Location:  Highway 2 in the Angeles National Forest near Big Pines.  From highway 138,  take highway 2 for 15 miles to Vincent Gap.  Park in the large lot on the left.   When all of highway 2 is open, Vincent Gap can also be reached with a 53 mile drive from La Canada.  A National Forest Service adventure pass ($5 per day or $30 per year) is required. Click here to purchase.
  • Agency:  Angeles National Forest, Mojave and Santa Clara Rivers Ranger District; Big Pines Visitor Center: 760-249-3504
  • Distance: 3.5 miles (out and back)
  • Elevation gain: 500 feet
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty rating: PG
  • Best season: April-November
  • USGS topo map: “Crystal Lake”, “Mt. San Antoino”
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
  • More information: Trip descriptions here, here and here;  aerial video of the mine and surrounding area here; Yelp page here
  • Rating: 7

This trail offers clean, fresh mountain air, great views of Mt. Baldy and the high country of the Angeles National Forest, a good workout–and a little history.  Its destination is the Big Horn Mine, which was built in 1894 and has long since been abandoned.  Visitation to the mine itself is off limits (although there has been talk of opening it up), but the trail allows hikers a good view.

From the parking lot, take the signed trail south for Mine Gulch.  Another trail branches off to the left; the route to the mine stays right and soon clings to the side of Mt. Baden-Powell.  On your left is the huge canyon of the East Fork of the San Gabriel River, above which Mt. Baldy stands unmistakably.  There are a few places where the trail may be a little tricky but overall it should be easy to follow.  There are a few ups and downs along the way, but nothing too severe.

At about a mile and a half out, it swings suddenly to the right, and views to the south open up.  Then the mine itself comes into sight, perched carefully on the hillside.  Getting up close to the mine is tempting – but not advisable.  You can get a pretty good look at it from the trail without having to risk your safety.

Text and photography copyright 2014 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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2 comments

  1. Great site! This hike isn’t in the area closed by the station fire? I’m having trouble figuring out what hikes are closed. Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie, thanks for reading. There were recent postings about this hike on http://www.localhikes.com (I myself did the hike last May), so apparently the Vincent Gap area is still accessible from the east. You might want to check with Caltrans or the National Forest Service just to make sure though. Have a great 4th.

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