Sunday, March 15, 2015

Big Horn Mine

After taking a weekend off from hiking to go to San Diego, the following weekend we were back at it hiking in Angeles National Forest northeast of LA. Hiking to Big Horn Mine has been on my California bucket list for quite some time now. This hike is a great way to explore the mountains and also take in a little bit of history while you're at it. 

To get to the mine I typed in Big Horn Mine in my Google maps app which got me to HWY 2 then I parked in the Vincent Gap parking lot. You technically need to buy an adventure parking pass, but I didn't see any other parked cars with the pass displayed. We went to a few outdoor stores to find the $5 day pass, but after seeing that no one else had it, it felt like a waste of our time. Once you are parked at Vincent Gap take the trail to the left called Big Horn Mine Rd (not labeled). The trail will split a little while down, but stay to the right to get to the mine. This hike is only about 4 miles round trip and was pretty easy for the most part. There was some ice on the trail and some parts that were washed out, but overall it wasn't too bad. The trail that takes you to the mine was created as a wagon trail and is carved along the side of the mountain. 
Mountain views on the trail
Snow covered mountains 
Along the trail
First time seeing snow all "winter"
First entrance to one of the tunnels
I love you
You will eventually come around a corner and see Big Horn Mine in front of you. The gold mine created in 1895 is perched 7,000 feet above on the slope of Mount Baden-Powell. We explored the mine for a while and then sat to eat a lunch that we packed. It was pretty windy so our food was flying around, but eating while enjoying the view of the snow covered mountains in the distance was stunning. After lunch we climbed on top of the mine and searched in some of the old tunnels. The tunnels are blocked off, but there are some areas that the bars are far enough apart that you can squeeze through. It is pitch black inside, so we brought a small flashlight to explore. It is pretty eerie, so I only lasted about 10 minutes inside the mine tunnel before I ran back to the entrance. 
The first view of the mine
Blocked off tunnel
View from inside the mine
Broken down 
Loving this view
Above the mine
Looking down
Inside the tunnel
It is pretty dark, let's get out
Working our way out
We then hiked back the same trail that we came on. There were a few other people on the trail, but it was not too crowded. I wish that we wore warmed clothes because it was windy and very cold. When we left Orange County it was in the mid 80's, and we were not prepared for the frigid temperatures. There are so many great trails to hike in Angeles National Forest, and I can't wait to go back and explore others.