San Diego Trail Tramps - Scheduled Hikes for 2011

Lost Horse Mine Loop Hike

Date:   Saturday, May 7, 2011  09:00 AM -  05:00 PM

Hike Group:    San Diego Trail Tramps

Info. URL:   Current NOAA weather forecast for the Lost Horse Mine area in Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park - Lost Horse Mine (U.S. National Park Service)
Location:   Joshua Tree National Park, NE of Palm Springs, CA

Hiking time, distance, elevation gain, etc.: The approximate length of the loop hike is 6.4 miles R/T, with an elevation gain of about 588'. Trailhead Elevation: 4,600 feet Top Elevation: 5,313 feet The site of the actual ten-stamp mill is at 5,287'. It will take about 3.5 hours to complete the R/T hike, plus time for breaks. Best time of year to hike it is October through May. Skill Level: Moderately strenuous -- Loop hike with peak climb

Location & description: The Lost Horse Mine produced 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver (worth approximately $5 million today) between 1894 and 1931. It continued producing until 1905, when the miners hit a fault line and forever lost the ore-bearing vein. The mine was leased to others or left dormant until 1931, when rising gold prices prompted the processing of 600 tons of tailings (unprocessed chunks of leftover ore) with cyanide, producing a few hundred ounces of gold.

When the story of the Lost Horse Mine is told, it sounds like a western campfire tale: gun slinging cowboys, cattle rustlers, horse thieves, the lure of gold, and a sticky-fingered miner. For more details and a fascinating account of it's history, click HERE to go to the Joshua Tree Nat. Park site.

The trailhead is located off Keys View Road. The trail follows the road developed to haul ore and supplies. This multifaceted hike offers something for every hiking enthusiast —a moderate hike to start out to a large mining complex (1/3 the way into the hike), with side trips to several high panoramic points, and then a longer loop to add a bit of adventurous route-finding into the trip.
LUNCH will be atop the SUMMIT (Bring a Windbreaker, probably no jacket or fleece needed, check weather conditions for JT day before. See NOAA weather link above.).
Dogs: Unfortunately this is not a dog-friendly hike, being a National Park -- pets not allowed on trails.

Directions to the trailhead: Refer to the Joshua Tree Nat. Park website directions and take the west entrance, along Park Blvd., out to the Lost Horse Mine trailhead parking area. In addition, The Joshua Tree National Park Map has excellent detailed views. And finally here's the map of the loop hike, itself, along with an image of the Lost Horse Mine Loop Elevation Profile below:

For our hiking group, this will be our schedule for today:

8:00 AM If carpooling from San Diego, meet at our Hillcrest carpool site at 7:45 AM & depart at 8:00 AM

10:00 AM Meet-up/Carpool/Departure from Don & Roger's home in Palm Springs
(Please refer to our email announcement for address and phone number.)
11:15 AM ARRIVAL at Lost Horse Mine Trail
11:30 AM Hike Departs
12:30 PM Lunch atop Summit of Lost Horse Mountain
1:00 PM Depart for Loop
3:00 PM Arrive back Parking Lot (Trailhead)
4:00 PM Arrive back Palm Springs

Optional Cocktails (BYOB) and BBQ at Don & Roger's that evening for those who wish to extend their stay a few hours.