Hike to the Abandoned Ruins of Big Horn Mine

Last weekend, I hiked to Big Horn Mine with Shoestring Adventures LA, a Halloween tradition I began one year ago with my little sister, Kyrsti.

We started the 4-mile out-and-back hike from Vincent Gap Trailhead. The crisp mountain air and golden leaves were pleasant reminders that fall does exist in Southern California.

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Big Horn Mine was originally discovered by Charles Tom Vincent, while he was hunting big horn sheep near his cabin in the San Gabriel Mountains. The mine was established in 1895 and became the largest gold mine in California in its day, though it did not yield as expected.

On his death bed, Vincent admitted he was wanted for killing three men who were robbing his cabin in Arizona. He and his partner buried the bodies, fearing legal repercussions, and fled to California. He lived alone in his cabin near the mine for over 40 years. (Read more about the history on The Weekly Pioneer.)

A short distance from the trailhead is the junction for Vincent’s Cabin, which I’ve heard can be difficult to locate. Instead, we continued straight along the mountainside to Big Horn Mine.

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The mine structure seemed to appear out of nowhere. We explored the ruins, though the tunnel entrances had been closed off, and soaked in the front row view of Mount Baldy.

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After the hike, we enjoyed some hot chocolate and the Sunday Pot Roast Special at Mountain Top Café near Wrightwood.

This will always be one of my favorite hikes in Southern California. If you are craving some adventure this Halloween weekend, look no further!

Big Horn Mine Trail

  • About This Hike: 4-mi round trip, out-and-back; 1100-ft climb
  • Fitness Level: Easy
  • Trailhead Address: Vincent Gulch Divide Parking Lot, Angeles Crest Highway, Azusa, CA 91702
  • Trailhead Coordinates: 34.373302,-117.751983
  • Trailhead Directions: Take I-15 N to CA-138 W to CA-2 W. Drive for 13.9 miles. Parking lot will be on your left. Don’t take the trail to Mount Baden Powell on the right. Be sure to follow the fire road to Big Horn Mine on the left.
  • Parking: Free with Adventure Pass.
  • What to Bring: Headlamp, water, warm layers.
  • Dogs allowed on leash.

Get Directions

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