A few days ago, Chris and I hiked up to the abandoned ruins of Big Horn Mine. The trailhead began at the Vincent Gulch Divide parking lot, off the CA-2 highway. It was nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy the crisp mountain air.
Big Horn Mine was originally discovered in the late-1800s by Charles Tom Vincent, while he was hunting big horn sheep in the mountains. While the mine remains to be the largest mine in the state of California, it did not yield as much gold as Mr. Vincent had hoped for. Interesting fact – on his deathbed, Vincent admitted he was wanted for killing three men in his home state of Arizona. He and his partner buried the bodies; fearing legal repercussions, Vincent fled to California. He lived alone in his cabin for nearly 40 years while tending to his mine. (read more about Mountain Men: Pioneers & Outlaws)
Vincent’s Cabin also happens to be a popular search in the mountains; however, Chris and I just opted to go straight to the mine.
The hike was fairly easy. It was rather rocky, and it presented few uphill climbs. When we got to the top, we did more adventuring and climbed the ruins. Two hikers who we met at the start of the trail happened to be outside of the mine entrance as well – they lent us a headlamp and we all went inside together. While the entrance to the mine was blocked off, there was a missing slat allowing us to squeeze through. It was eerie inside and knowing Chris, he wanted to explore deeper into the mine. I was very freaked out, especially after Chris said out loud “doesn’t this remind of the movie As Above So Below?”
After that, I wanted nothing to do with exploring further and I begged Chris to turn back, promising to come back someday. We returned the headlamp and I made a run for it back to the entrance.
Big Horn Mine Trail
Distance: 4-mi round trip, elevation gain of 500 feet
Address: Vincent Gulch Divide Parking Lot, Angeles Crest Highway, Azusa, CA 91702
Trailhead Access: In the parking lot, enter the blocked path on the left. Going to the right takes you straight to the Pacific Crest Trail. When on the dirt path, it forks into the Mine Gulch Trail & Big Horn Mine.
Parking: Free with Adventure Pass (daily can be purchased from Wrightwood Market, $5/day)