Unfortunately, this is not a dog-friendly trail. Please respect the trail rule.
For history lovers:
Even before the California Gold Rush of 1849, prospectors were finding gold in southern California. As the take from the mines in the Sierras petered out, miners fanned out into the deserts. Hot summers, scarce water, limited wood sources, and the difficulty and high cost of transporting equipment and provisions created a challenging environment in which to operate a mine. But a few hardy adventurers persevered and about 300 mines were developed in what is now Joshua Tree National Park. – Joshua Tree National Park
The trailhead is located off Keys View Road. Just follow the map you get when you enter the park. Once you make a left turn at the Lost Horse Mine trail sign from Keys View Road, you will be on a dirt road and the road will get narrower as you drive further in. As you get closer to the trailhead, you will see parked cars on this narrow road so drive with caution.
The loop trail wraps around the southwestern flank of Lost Horse Mountain. My sister and I had other plans afterward so we decided on just hiking to the mine and back. Also from what we read, the most interesting part of the trail is the first two miles to the mine anyway (if you do the loop clockwise). We decided to tackle the loop another time.
I was hoping to see some wildflowers in the desert. And I was not disappointed. Joshua trees started to bloom in the park.
We passed a section of burnt Joshua trees. A leftover from wildfires in 2009.
We walked by more wildflowers. How lovely!
As we got close to the mine, we started to see some old mine equipment near the trail.
Here are some pictures at The Lost Horse Mine.
- The Lost Horse Mine produced more than 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver (worth approximately $5 million today) between 1894 and 1931. It was one of the very few good producers.
- Here is a very short version of the story of how the name was chosen: Johnny Lang and his father drove their herd of cattle into the Lost Horse Valley in 1890. One night, while camped in the Lost Horse Valley, their horses disappeared. After they bought the rights to the mine, they named it Lost Horse. A longer version is available on the JTNP’s website. 🙂
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 3.5.16
- Park Entrance Fee: $20/vehicle for 7 days (FYI, annual pass per vehicle is $30)
- Distance: 4 miles RT, Out and Back
- Elevation Gain: 520 ft
- Difficulty Level: Moderate
- Weather is pretty unpredictable in the desert, pack layers of clothing, hat, and sunscreen.
- A restroom is available at the trailhead but the one at the park entrance is much nicer.