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Location DB > United States > California > Los Angeles National Forest > Big Horn Mine
Big Horn Mine
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 Database Info
created by robk700 on 1/7/2010 1:18 PM
last modified by robk700 on 6/13/2010 6:42 AM
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Epic. The largest and most interesting gold mine in Los Angeles county. It is a bit out of the way and a two mile hike in but the rewards are priceless. Upon arrival you'll be greeted by the remains of a large stamp mill sitting 7000 ft. high in the beautiful San Gabriel mountains. Taggers have done much to destroy the mill's natural decayed beauty but even then it is largely impressive. As of writing this the mines are recently sealed but lets hope this will change soon. Inside lies an epic descent into the past. 17,000 feet or just under 2 miles of tunnel can be explored. The mid and lower levels are wet and water boots are recommended. Trying to stay dry with expensive shoes takes much of the fun out of the experience. It is possible though. Boilers, piping, tracks, and wooden support structures can be found. The upper levels are dry but do contain a fair amount of graffiti. Evidence of raves can be found. Watch out for 2 pits dropping 60 feet to the mid level. They'll appear unexpectedly. Stairwells once filled them but have long since collapsed. 6-8 hrs. to fully explore. All in all, the best mining experiences I've ever had. Let's hope the doors reopen soon.
 Basic Information
Type: Tunnel
Status: Currently welded shut
Accessibility: Moderate: 2 mile hike. Forget it if there is snow
Recommendation: drop everything - must see
 Physical Information

Los Angeles National Forest, California
United States
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  •  Hazards
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • flooding
  • water
  • DEADLY trail when snow covered
  •  Interesting Features
    18,000 feet of tunnels. Stamp mill. Beautiful view.
     Security Measures
  • welded doors
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1891
    Closed: 0
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • Ice gear if attempted during snow season
  •  Recommended Equipment
    Water boots, fresh water
    The best history I've found so far: http://www.wrightw...ots/a06bighorn.pdf

    To paraphrase:

    At 7,000 feet, overlooking one of the most spectacular views of the San Gabriel Mountains, is Big Horn mine. In the fall of 1891 prospectors Charles Tom Vincent and N.D. Shippy staked the claim and begun preliminary work. But despite initial hype, it wasn’t until Col F.C. Fenner and his Lowell and California mining company purchased the property in July of 1901 that significant operation began. A mule cart road was cut from the north and work on 4 additional adits was begun. A 1902 a 2 stamp mill was constructed followed by a 10 stamp mill the following year. Though it burned down in 1904 another was built in its place within two months.

    The following two years witnessed the rise of a small camp that included a post office, general store and telephone service. But due to litigation, in 1907, work ceased and the site remained idle until 1914. Seely Mudd, a mining engineer, became considerably interested in the property at this time. For the next 22 years his firm Mudd and Wiseman conducted extensive exploratory work cutting thousands of feet of tunnel. With over twenty men employed, he built a permanent camp, installed a power line to the property, conducted extensive retimbering and made vast improvements to the mill. By 1936, though, the costs outweighed the returns and the property was relinquished.

    For the next 80 years, ownership of the mine transferred multiple times. In the 1980s the Hanna Mining Company conducted multiple exploratory digs. But with the falling cost of gold, the results were seen as unfavorable and further drilling ceased.

    Since then Big Horn Mine has become an attraction to day hikers from all parts of the Los Angles area. It is a curiosity that brings visitors as close as possible to the old west without traveling outside the county. Until recently one could still explore the 18,000 feet of tunnel dug deep into the earth. But with a recent land transfer, the property has become state land and the tunnels sealed by the forest service. But for the few who dare brave the dark and a tight squeeze not all is lost

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    A few adventures
    Thu, Jan 7th, 2010
    posted by robk700
    13 pictures

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     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

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    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Opheliaism on 6/13/2010 6:28 PM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jun 13 10 at 18:28, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Jun 13 10 at 6:42, robk700 changed the following: History, Interesting Features
  • on Jan 7 10 at 17:29, Opheliaism validated this location
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:38, robk700 changed the following: Province / State (please use full name)
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:35, robk700 updated gallery picture n584486840_1806130_4756.jpg
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:35, robk700 updated gallery picture n584486840_1806129_4569.jpg
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:34, robk700 updated gallery picture n584486840_1806128_4342.jpg
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:34, robk700 updated gallery picture n584486840_1806127_4128.jpg
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:34, robk700 updated gallery picture n584486840_1806126_3914.jpg
  • on Jan 7 10 at 15:34, robk700 updated gallery picture n584486840_1806125_3690.jpg
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