|Mason Valley/Republic Mine Hike
See Area D-8:, Trips 1, 2, 3, Blair Valley/Vallecito Mts., in Schad's book (c '99, pp. 300-305, map on p. 300) for details on the general hiking area. *** degree of difficulty out of a possible *****. 6-7 miles roundtrip hike. Elevation gain/loss is about 1000'+.
This hike is located in the SW part of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. (Check the Maps page of this website for more directions and maps to print out.) We'll plan to meet there at 11:15 am and start hiking about 11:30.
We will park beside Highway S-2 in western Anza-Borrego. This parking pullout is on the east side of the highway at mile 27.1. (The "Mormon Battalion rally site") The parking area is about one mile south of the historic marker at Box Canyon, and about two miles north of the private Butterfield Ranch Campground. The road into Oriflamme Canyon leaves nearby, across the highway.
This hike is a long climb to an abandoned mine on the mountainside high overlooking Mason Valley. We will walk up the dirt Oriflamme Canyon road for about 2 miles, before heading up the steep mine road for another 1 mile. The last one mile to the mine climbs just under 1000 feet, however, making this one of the more strenuous hikes we have done. Since the overall distance is only about 6+ miles, we can take our time and enjoy the fantastic views from the old mine road during our ascent. The mine has several open tunnels into the mountainside (bring flashlights, but beware of bats and other critters that may be lurking inside), a litter of old mining debris, and offers an impressive view southward over Mason and Vallecito valleys. This is a high desert mountainside with juniper trees and abundant blue agave and cholla cactus.
Be sure to check out our extensive hike photo gallery of Mason Valley/Granite Mt. Hike Photos for 03/02/03!
For a nice article on this hike see: