Big Horn Mine- Wrightwood

Big Horn Mine

Normally, I give you the 411 after the facts BUT…

As you ALL know- I Heart a “Destination HIKE” and this HIKE was the absolute BEST “Destination hike” I’ve been on- SO FAR!

Here are the adjectives: filthy, dirty, muddy, road rash, scratched, bruised, dehydrated, starved, tired, exhausted, winded, elated, excited, happy, thrilled and SORE! 

All the above adjectives made this one of my all time favorite hikes! When I came off the trail, I was SO dirty that it took 6 babywipes to get the dirt off- Then I took a shower AND a bath when I got home! If you need to be Hosed Down, you must’ve had a great time!

 I think the excitement I had just reading about this hike made me treat it like a TRUE challenge before I even got there. My mind set was one of pure adventure and I think that’s how I need to treat all my HIKES for now on. I can’t tell if I’m getting in better shape or I’m just more comfortable with hiking in general but I really, really enjoyed myself this time. Even my knees and feet didn’t hurt as bad as they usually do- I was glad about that too!

Read the FACTS below and then on with the story…

LOCATION: Wrightwood, Ca.

TRAIL INFORMATION/DIRECTIONS: Take Highway 2 (Angeles Crest Highway) through the

Angeles Forest to the Vincent Gap. It is signed as Vincent Gulch/PCT parking. Here you can catch

3 trails – the Vincent Gulch Trail, The PCT to Baden Powell or back towards San Bernardino, and the

trail/road to Big Horn Mine.

Park on the South Side. The trail is very easy to find – just look for the road closed sign – follow the

old wagon road the entire way.

DISTANCE: 4.5 miles round trip

DIFFICULTY: Moderate (if you’re in ok shape) or Easy (if you’re in good shape)

BRING: At least 2 liters of water (I drank 3), a snack or lunch (refueling is important), sunscreen, bug spray, a heavy duty flashlight and the usual first aid stuff.

WEAR: Cool clothes in the summer, Layers in the Winter- SUNSCREEN ALL THE TIME and a HAT too! HIKING BOOTS are a must because it is rocky as SHIT! (I love the sound of cruchy ROCKS…crunch…crunch)

KID FRIENDLY? Yes, as long as they can walk. I’d say a well behaved 8 years old or older because there are some rough spots and it can be really dangerous if your kid doesn’t listen.

DOG FRIENDLY? Yes. I saw someone with a dog but dogs attract COUGARS and COYOTES (so I’ve been told). I’d think twice before bringing a dog for now on. Like I said above, the trail is rough in spots so “SPOT” better be good at climbing.

DO NOT WEAR AN M3P or IPOD. There are animals here and you won’t be able to HEAR them. Try nature for a minute…you might like the sounds!

FEE: You need an ADVENTURE PASS which you can buy at the beginning of the year for $30 (unlimited use) or you can pay per adventure ($5- purchase in Wrightwood before heading up the mountain). Make sure you display it correctly or you will pay a $100 fine…

IMPORTANT: Check BEFORE you hike. The area surrounding Big Horn Mine is a Ski Area. THINK SNOW. The Desert is 10 minutes away and it can get EXTREMELY HOT in the Forest as well. Dress according to the weather….

 If you’re coming from the Desert side (138 to Hwy 2), you will pass the PCT trailheads, The Grassy Valley Information Center and THEN you will come upon the signs to the left.

Park. Pee. Take the Mine Gulch Trail.  

I totally thought it was going to be this flat the WHOLE hike…ha! Silly me!

There’s a “fork” in the road a little ways up with 2 blank signs. Don’t go to the left and down- stay to the right and keep going straight. You’ll walk through a little corridor full of Climbing Jasmine and Wild Lavender Flowers. Quite lovely and fragrant! Watch out for the BEES, please.

My Hiking Partner is AGAIN- Robbie.

Everyone wave to Robbie!


BEHOLD! The Stamp Mill and the Mines….


One of the CLOSED parts of the MINE.

A look inside one of the open ones…..


The GREAT ADVENTURER has entered the 1st mine. It was like exploring in air conditioning  and it smelled like the fake mines they have at Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. So trippy.

After finishing with the 1st mine, we had to get to the the side where the Stamp Mill was and THIS ROPE was the way to climb down the hill, carefully walk the narrow path and then scurry up to the Mill.


The View from the Stamp Mill is Spectacular! 

Even though IDIOTS come up here and ruin it for the rest of us by tagging the mill- it’s still amazing to look at from all points of the mountain.







    …and then I became Angelina Jolie as an International Spy OR SpiderGirl. One or the other- I prefer Angelina, thank you very much! Ummm…maybe I should explain myself here….

I wanted to get up to the top of the Stamp Mills because I read there was a second MINE SHIFT (ha, I said shaft) up there. The ladder that lead to the top was broken. I had to basically SCALE the side of the hill, crawl UNDER the pylons and steel beams, step cautiously over broken glass, tip toe over another little waterfall (trying not to slip on the algae), bend, twist and pull my way up to the front of the 2nd mine. As I stepped onto the overhang, I said out loud- “Oh G-d, please let this hold me- Oh G-d, please let this stay strong!” I walked about 1 foot and saw this:


 You KNOW this is AWESOME! Don’t deny me!

This is the BEST PICTURE to describe what the inside of the mine looked like without a flashlight on…


Think 300 ft in. Robbie was actually right behind me…can you see him? I thought not! I am facing the entrance as I take this picture…Scared?

 Inside the mine- lights on! 

Someone – please buy me a headlamp! That’s what I want for Hannukahmas!

My Last Picture…and my FAVORITE beside the one that is in the PITCH BLACK. Doesn’t this look like part of a ride at Knott’s or Disneyland?

History and Nature combined…you can’t get any better than this!

 I think when I die, I’m going to HAUNT Big Horn Mine…and follow home EVERY little ASSHOLE who comes here and tries to ruin the majestic beauty of this long forgotten time.



2 thoughts on “Big Horn Mine- Wrightwood”

  1. You sure make it sound exciting… I’m about to hike it today. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Ski Hut up in Baldy. It’s another great hike you might like to try sometime.

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