San Diego Trail Tramps ~ Scheduled Hikes for 2013

  Lost Horse Mine Loop Hike - Joshua Tree National Park

Date:  Saturday, April 6, 2013  08:00 AM - 05:00 PM

Location: Joshua Tree National Park, NE of Palm Springs, CA

Directions: For those carpooling from San Diego, see Misc. Info. below to rendezvous in Palm Springs, before caravaning on to Joshua Tree Nat. Park. 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.

Background info.: 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.

Hike Description: This loop hike is 6.4 miles long, with a 535' elevation gain/loss. 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 the weather conditions for JT the 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.

Here's the map of the loop hike, itself, along with an image of the Lost Horse Mine Loop Elevation Profile below:

Misc. info: 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 at a member's home in Palm Springs, then caravan at 10:30 AM to Joshua Tree NP

11:15 AM ARRIVAL at Lost Horse Mine Trailhead in Joshua Tree National Park
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 at Parking Lot (Trailhead)
4:00 PM Arrive back in Palm Springs

Optional BBQ dinner at member's home in Palm Springs that evening, for those who wish to extend their stay a few hours or overnight.