HikeSnobs rate this:
Visited: October 11, 2015 & January 18, 2016
Description: An easy to moderate hike to an abandoned mine in the San Bernardino Mountains
Length: 4 miles round trip
Elevation: 500 feet
Duration: 1.5 hours+ (depends on trail conditions)
Terrain: If there’s no snow, the trail is a rocky fire road/pavement. Watch out for loose rocks.
Pets: Dogs on-leash
Parking: Lot (34.3731996,-117.7531292) Free with adventure pass, otherwise it’s $5
Best time to go: Anytime. Winter can be a bit challenging because the trail will get covered in snow
Bring: Camera, headlight/flashlight if you want to check out the mine, water, snacks, hammocks
Hidden 7,000 feet east of Mount Baden Powell in San Bernardino Mountains, you can find the historic Big Horn Mine. Built in 1895, the mine was initially discovered by Charles Tom Vincent while hunting for Big Horn Sheep. It was said that over $100,000 in gold was found in these mines! With such interesting history, the HikeSnobs were excited to hike and explore the abandoned remnants of a once thriving mine. We didn’t win the Powerball but maybe we would find some of Mr. Vincent’s leftover gold instead. 😛
Located 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles, the trailhead is easily accessible. As our group of 3 reached the parking lot, we saw signs guiding us where we wanted to go.
Big Horn Mine isn’t listed at the trailhead but you’ll want to take the Mine Gulch trail until you see a second sign which will lead you to Big Horn Mine. This 4 mile out and back hike is easy but the snow-covered trail took longer than expected.
The trail was icy and completely covered with snow. A little hand-holding helped on some parts of the icy trail. If you need a hand to hold, we’ve got a few for rent. Serious inquiries in the comment section below please. 🙃
The washouts were the most difficult parts of the trail. There were roughly 3 major washouts along the trail. The image below shows the first and largest one. It wasn’t too difficult crossing it but we had to take our time and be careful not to slip as we climbed over. Angela (our honorary HikeSnob) imagined her death a few times here.
About a mile into the hike, you’ll see an old mine shaft on the right side of the trail. There should be a steady stream of water leaving this mine. If you are feeling adventurous, go ahead and explore inside. The snow made this hike much longer than we initially anticipated, so we opted against going inside. We will definitely come back and check it out next time!
Walking on the frozen, slippery trail at a snail’s pace was agonizing and tedious. There were a few times when there was mention of quitting; but being a HikeSnob, we’re all talk and no walk (when it comes to giving up, at least).
After what seemed to be the longest two miles of our lives, we spotted the outline of the Old Stamp Mill. FINALLY! What a sight to see after such an intense climb. We made our way over as quickly as the snow would allow us.
The scenery from Old Stamp Mill was absolutely incredible. We were able to catch breathtaking views of a snowy Mount Baldy.
Now, its time to have some fun! We decided to hang a hammock to enjoy the view.
What’s better than one hammock? How about two?
Now what about three?… The only problem is this gigantic hole down the cliff on this side and we ain’t about that life!
Just kidding, we’re always about that life! Slow but steady… Team HikeSnobs can do anything!!! Good thing we’re fearless!
Perfect! Now it’s time to sit back and relax. We’re glad there were others who decided to attempt this hike in the snow or we would’ve struggled trying to get a picture with all three of us.
Although the snow made this entire hike more beautiful, was it worth the 2 hour one way hike on the slippery ice to get to Big Horn Mine? If you ask the HikeSnobs, we’d say it was 100% worth it. If you ask our Honorary HikeSnob, Angela, she’d probably say no… mostly because she kept imagining her death, maybe once or twice, and by one or twice maybe a couple hundred times. But HikeSnobs would never make anyone do anything they couldn’t do.
In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. And since there were no injuries this time, it was a celebrated chance!
- If you’re hiking when there’s snow, it’s probably best to go around noon so the snow isn’t as icy and slippery.
Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!