Hike the Bighorn Mine Trail

vincent gap

Scenic out-and-back hike with panoramic views of the Vincent Gap, Sheep Mountain wilderness, and the east fork of the San Gabriel River Basin.

If you decide to head over to Wrightwood for some skiing during the winter, make sure to get a hike in while you’re at it. There are several trail systems along the Angeles Crest Highway (Hwy 2), and one of them is scenic Big Horn Mine Trail. The end point of the hike is the historic and abandoned Big Horn Mine, discovered by Charles Tom Vincent in the late 19th century. The trailhead is accessible from the Vincent Gap parking lot (past the Grassy Hollow visitor center). If you own the Adventure Pass, parking is free of charge.

A short ways into the trail at about .25 miles, the trail divides in between the Mine Gulch Trail (which descends into the Vincent Gap and you can check out the Vincent cabin) and the Big Horn Mine Trail which winds its way around the mountains to the abandoned Big Horn Mine. Continue forward on the trail to the right to head towards Big Horn Mine. The trail is paved for the beginning part, but once you reach the mining tunnel on your right hand side (not Big Horn Mine) about halfway through the trail, the trail becomes very narrow, uneven with shale, and consists of lots of ups and downs.

The trail deteriorates more in the winter, and also has patches of black ice which may not be visible. So hike with extreme caution, especially on the way back if it becomes dark (since the sun sets earlier in the winter). There are some areas of the trail that may require a rope to get across. To avoid having to hike these narrow, unstable, and icy sections of the hike in the dark, start out with adequate time to hike the entire trail during the daylight and make sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp. The latter half of the hike is more paved and wider. Once you pass two more roundabouts of the mountain, you will see Big Horn Mine on the side of the mountain ahead of you.

From the Big Horn Mine you will be able to see panoramic views of the San Gabriel River Basin in front of you. The view is especially majestic near sunset. Although many people wish to go exploring within the Big Horn Mine, it is strongly advised not to. It is closed off with steel bars, and the structure is not sound since it has been abandoned for decades. You can still enjoy the view from the entrance to the mine, where there is a slab area for people to rest or take a quick bite to eat. The Big Horn Mine Trail is a great workout, has a lot of variety in activity, is dog-friendly, and has magnificent views throughout and at the end as payoff. Going during the winter is especially a treat, because you avoid the crowds and you get to see the mountains in all their splendor topped with snow.

Pack List

  • Day pack
  • Reusable water bottle with water
  • Snacks/packed lunch
  • Sunglasses
  • Layers of clothing
  • Gloves (necessary in the winter)
  • Beanie (necessary in the winter)
  • Hiking shoes with decent tread
  • Rope (just in case)
  • Camera
  • Flashlight/headlamp (necessary in the winter)
Show More
RT Distance 4 Miles
Elevation Gain 1100 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Favorite hiking spot

This hike isn’t hard but it is rocky. I definitely recommend hiking boots. The old mine is the perfect spot to eat or just chill. The view is incredible and totally worth it!

Mine Hike

Loved this hike I would recommend it to anyone. It's not that hard it's really a hike for anyone.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Summit Mt. Baden-Powell

This well maintained and well traveled trail is a popular route with day hikers, backpackers, and Pacific Crest Trail through hikers.

277 Saves

Hike the Blue Ridge Trail via Inspiration Point

There are two trail heads for the Blue Ridge Trail, one via the Grassy Hollow Visitor Center, and the other across from Inspiration Point.

47 Saves

Snow Hike Lightning Ridge

When you hear the report about snow in the San Gabriels, it's time to plan this hike! Only a short 90 minute drive is all that separates nearly a third of California's population from high-altitude .

107 Saves