Tin Mine Canyon Trail Guide
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||5 miles (8.1 km)|
|Other Options||3 Miles to the Mine & Back|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||820 feet (250m)|
|Highest Elevation||1,720 feet (524m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Cleveland National Forest - Trabuco Ranger District|
Hiking the Tin Mine Canyon Trail takes you into another world. You’ll park your car in suburban SoCal, but end up in a lush, shaded gully alongside a mountain stream. On the way you get to check out the old tin mine shafts, over 100 years old and once part of the search for the purest tin in the world. The Tin Mine Canyon Trail is relatively short, easy, shaded, and great for the family.
Where is the Tin Mine Canyon Trail?
Parking for the Tin Mine Canyon Trail is easy and free. The hike starts on the Skyline Trail, and there is a lot of curbside parking by the trailhead. Just know that this trailhead is popular, and you’ll probably have to walk at least a few minutes on the sidewalk to get to the trailhead. Use this trailhead address:
Skyline Drive Trail, Skyline Dr, Corona, CA 92882
Gear For the Hike
This is a pretty easy hike, and you don’t need anything more than light hiking gear or fitness clothes to do it. There can be poison oak and overgrown parts of the trail, so having long pants is smart. There can also be gnats and flies; put some insect repellant on. After a rain, there are stream crossings where your feet can get wet, but most of the time the creek is dry. Bring at least 1L of water to stay hydrated.
Joby GripTight Smartphone Flexible Tripod
Take your selfie stick game to the next level. Part of the fun of a hike is taking pictures, and a flexible JOBY smartphone tripod takes it to the next level. You can use it as a selfie stick, as a regular tripod, but more importantly, as a flexible tripod that can attach to tree branches and other objects. It’s not expensive, and it’s something you can use when not hiking too.
Latest Price – Amazon
Black Diamond Astro 250
It’s your biggest asset if you get lost. If something goes wrong and you get lost, sprain your ankle, or get delayed, you might be caught out after dark. And one of the top items that search and rescue departments recommend you carry is a light. Now smartphones have lights, but they drain the battery quickly. It’s better to invest in an expensive yet high-quality headlamp like the Black Diamond Astro 250. It takes AAA batteries, can last 200 hours, and has an emergency strobe. Carry it with you off the trail to use in emergencies as well.
Latest Price – REI | Amazon | Black Diamond
REI Membership Saves You Money Forever
Have you shopped at REI before? They have all kinds of active clothes and gear, from fitness, to hiking, to snow sports, to casual wear. It’s an overall great place to shop (here’s why) and they offer a $20 membership that gets you 10% back on everything for life, along with frequent coupons, discounts, and member-only sales. It’s a no-brainer.
REI Membership – REI
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated November 2021.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Tin Mine Canyon Trail Maps
Overall the hike is easy to follow and straightforward. Some sections of the trail split apart and rejoin each other, and I’ll point them out in the directions below, but you are in Tin Mine Canyon, the options for getting lost are limited.
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 6. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
The Tin Mine Canyon Story
In the 1800s and 1900s, mining was basically free money that you could access with some elbow grease. Thousands flocked to California to mine for gold but found other minerals that they could sell, like silver and tin. The Santa Ana Mountains were no exception, with lots of mining occurring (ever think about how “Silverado Canyon” got its name?). In 1859, what was to become California’s largest tin mine, the Cajalco Tin Mine, opened about 7 miles east of Tin Mine Canyon.
This is where milk comes into the story, which used to be delivered in wooden buckets. The Department of Health decreed that milk had to be covered and sterilized, and tin can packaging (which you still see on things like Campbells Soup) became a thing. Knowing that a productive tin mine was only a few miles away, the Borden Milk Company dug dozens of exploratory tunnels searching for another lode of tin. It never happened, and the mine shafts you see on this hike are just part of that exploratory effort.
Tin Mine Canyon Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
Some folks continue up the canyon, which you can follow up to Skyline Drive or Black Star Canyon Road. However, the trail eventually disappears if you continue, and you will need to have experience in off-trail navigation and scrambling to complete the hike. As you can imagine, the area past this point gets more than its fair share of rescues. Only attempt to continue if you are confident in your skills and experience.
This guide last updated on November 4, 2021. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.
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