I got up to the trailhead about 8am. The parking lot wasn’t crowded yet but there was plenty of cars there starting off the morning early. The trailhead houses a few different trails, the most popular is the portion of the PCT going to the summit of Mt Baden Powell that my brother and I did Memorial Weekend. Today I took the Big Horn Mine Road trail that is marked with a white iron gate that reads “Road Closed”.
The trail starts off slightly downhill. This part of the mountain both on the PCT going up to the summit and going down to the mine have this reddish sand so it makes all the green really stand out. The trail is pretty much exposed the whole way so make sure to bring sunscreen, a hat and plenty of water. I started down the trail and quickly came to the fork in the road. If you go right you will continue on Big Horn Mine Road and to the Mine but I planned on going left on Vincent Gulch Trail so that I could find Tom Vincent’s Cabin. Tom Vincent was a man on the run for killing 3 people out of self defense in AZ during the 1800’s. He ended up building this cabin and working the Big Horn Mine. Click here to read more about his history.
The trail to the left continues downhill and becomes shaded. I continued down the trail keeping an eye out for the small trail to the cabin. The trail came up quick but I had marked it on my map so I didn’t miss it. I think I would have if I didn’t map it prior to coming on this hike. I have found that you can download maps with Google maps to make them “Offline.” It helps when you are trying to find special land marks in the backcountry but of course doesn’t replace the basic map and compass. It just makes life way easier! When using Google Maps make sure to have an account with google then you can save your locations and they will show up on your map as stars. Here are the links for each location with google maps.
- Big Horn Mine Trailhead
- Trail cut off for Vincent’s Cabin
- Miner Vincent’s Cabin
- Big Horn Mine
- Strava Link of the whole track
I followed the small trail and found the cabin with no problems. It was still looking good even though it was from the 1800’s.
I could tell that not too many people had visited this location due to the amount of trash and graffiti that were NOT there. There were some signs that people had camped there but for the most part it was pretty much untouched. I got my few pictures and a video of the cabin and head up the hill back to Big Horn Mine Road.
I found a trail that going up the hill to Big Horn Mine Road and got there very quickly. The trail stayed pretty easy for a little while until you came to the view of the Mt Baden Powell summit. The road had been taken out by many landslides and a small trail has been formed by many people walking the trail.
Once you got past that the road opened back up. Along the trail you come to a small running spring that is coming out of a little mine. This is not Big Horn Mine. I wanted to try to get close to the opening but bees had made it their home so I stayed clear of the opening.
I continued on the trail coming across several other areas where the road had been wiped away but a small trail made it easy to continue. I had only seen another couple on the trail except right when I had gotten almost to the Mine I came across another solo hiker. We stopped and talked for a bit sharing our travels in the Eastern Sierra’s. He gave me a few locations that I needed to hike to in the future and also told me that I wouldn’t be alone at the Mine. He warned me that there was a group of young men that was camping there and where “on something.” He didn’t stay long because they made him feel very uneasy. We said our goodbyes and I continued along the trail for a very short distance when I came to the mine. It was a beautiful display of an old time that had passed. It was rusted but still marked the landscape with it’s present. As I got closer I could hear the young men yelling at each other and I decided to take my fellow hikers warning to heart. The mine was beautiful where it stood. I didn’t need to take any unnecessary risks. I’d like to think that most people are good but that small chance that they are bad I didn’t need to take. Also the old rusted mine had many dangers in it. If I got hurt I didn’t have a fellow hiker there to help me.
I made my way down the trail. I had saved some Geocaching coordinates along the way and found one down by the last turn before the mine where the concrete foundation stood. I worked my way down the trail passing many people going up. I finally finished my hike about 10:30am. At that time the parking lot was full and many people were just arriving for their morning hike. I can’t wait to come back to explore the mine to the fullest.
County: Los Angeles County
Miles: 4.7 miles round trip
Permit: Wilderness Permit needed for parking
Elv Gain: 993 Feet Gained
Trail: via Big Horn Mine Road & Vincent Gulch