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Los Angeles Hikes

Big Horn Mine Trail Hike

  • 4 miles - Easy Effort
  • 1.5-2 Hours (Total)
  • 840 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 6,932 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

what does this mean?

The hike to Big Horn Mine is a fun and relatively easy way to enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Angeles National Forest without a major effort. The trail to Big Horn Mine winds it's way along the side of a mountain, eventually arriving at the abandoned mine, where you can explore a historic structure from 1895 and grab some iconic photos (with Mt Baldy in the background).

In this Guide:
  • Where is Big Horn Mine?
  • What to Expect on the Hike
  • Turn-by-turn Hike Directions
  • Big Horn Mine Trail Maps & Video

When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

Big Horn Mine and the surrounding sights have an interesting history too, but more about that later.

Where is Big Horn Mine?

Big Horn Mine is in the heart of Angeles National Forest, with the parking area at Vincent Gap. Use this trailhead address:

Vincent Gap, CA 93563

And just a note. The Google Maps link works, but some other mapping programs don't get Vincent Gap correct.

Big Horn Mine Hike 1
Don't forget to leave your pass on your dashboard when you park.

You need a parking pass for the trailhead lot. I use the affordable National Parks Pass, which gets me in every park, monument, and national forest. You can also use an (Southern California only) Adventure Pass, or buy a $5 day permit from the ranger’s office.

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The parking lot is large but on a nice day it can fill up.
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There are primitive toilets at the Vincent Gap parking area.

In the winter the road can be closed, so if in doubt, check the park website and/or call the ranger station before leaving.

Gear for the Hike

This is a relatively short hike, and in normal circumstances you shouldn't need any special gear. If you do this in the winter when there is snow and ice, there is one section (more below) that requires extra care. Micro-spikes and trekking poles will help you navigate that icy section.

My Latest Gear Picks

Featured Gear 2023 08 11

Garmin inReach Mini 2 ( Amazon | REI )
HOKA Speedgoat 5
( Men | Women )
Zpacks Sub-Nero Ultra ( Zpacks | Review )
Alpine Carbon Cork Poles ( REI | Amazon )

As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.

All My September 2023 Top Gear Picks

Big Horn Mine Trail Maps

This hike is straightforward. You basically hike straight on the trail until you reach the mine, then return. It's a great way to hike in the mountains without doing a big effort.

Note: If you're exploring OSM maps of the area on your own,  be warned that some (other) trails on the OSM map are little more than animal runs. The trail in this guide is easy to follow and plenty wide.

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

Best Smartphone Apps to Navigate: AllTrails | GaiaGPS | OnX


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The trail hugs the side of Mt Baden Powell.
Hike Big Horn Mine Trail Elevartion
There's some up and down on this hike but in general it's not really noticeable. The grades are gentle.
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The trail roughly follows the contour line around the mine, with scenic views into Vincent Gulch and Mt Baldy in the distance.

What You Need To Know About the Hike

Big Horn Mine
The mine has been around for over 100 years and has a colorful history. Photo Bobbi Holmes.

Big Horn Mine Hike Directions

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There are a few trailheads at Vincent Gap. Head to the left of the signs toward the white gate.
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Go through the white gate to start hiking on the trail to Big Horn Mine.
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The trail is wide and descends for a bit.
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At this intersection keep right to head to Big Horn Mine. The turn to the left takes you to Vincent's Cabin (more later).
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There are some sections of the trail that get narrow and overgrown, but it's always easy to follow.
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The trail widens out to a dirt road through mature pine trees.
Big Horn Mine Wash
The one section that can be a little tricky is this part of the trail which suffers from rockslides occasionally. If it's cold out, there can be black ice on this section. Go slow and carefully here.

If you don't feel safe in that last section, it's okay to turn around. Conditions change as rain, snow, and rock slides affect the trail.

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The trail widens out after the last section and climbs again.You can see how this was once a dirt road that allowed miners to get back and forth to Big Horn Mine.
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There's another mine shaft before you get to Big Horn Mine. Keep hiking straight on the path.
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Here's a closeup of that last mine shaft.
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Stay to the right as the trail snakes around the curve on the mountain.
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Soon you'll see Big Horn Mine in the distance.
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The last little stretch to the mine has a little up-and-down across a small stream.
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You made it! Now wait in line behind the crowds for your picture. If you leave early the crowds are much better (this is at 10am). And another reminder, if you explore around the mine, please do so carefully.
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To return, just hike back on the same trail. It's as easy as that.

Side Trip to Vincent's Cabin

Vincents Cabin
As long as you're here, why not visit Charles Tom Vincent's cabin? Photo lovz2hike

If you make the left turn at the first intersection (see the earlier directions) it's only a half-mile hike to Vincent's Cabin. You can go inside the cabin and poke around, seeing how Charles Tom Vincent lived life as a mountain man.

Update from Ted V: There's been a landslide on the trail down, and it seems to be impassable. If the conditions change, please contact me and I'll update the guide.

Charles Tom Vincent was originally from Ohio and served in the Civil War, eventually taking up mining in Arizona where he and his partner killed three men who were ransacking their shack. He fled to the mountains, making his way here after spending some time in the High Sierras.

Tom Vincent
A rare shot of Charles Tom Vincent with the cabin in the background. Photo Graham Ranch

Vincent lived on solitude by choice for forty years, continuing to mine for gold, and selling it once a year in Los Angeles. He was an interesting character. According to an account by his mailman "every afternoon when he came in from work he stripped to the buff and threw a potfull of hot water over his strong, rugged body, regardless of company; so we learned to vamoose. He was strong as an ox, the picture of health, thin and wiry with pink cheeks and snowy white hair. He could and did, walk for miles tracking a deer and he never fired an unnecessary shot. He loathed the city fellers that banged away regardless, when after game." The Wrightwood Historical Society has a great write-up on Vincent and his life. Vincent passed in 1926.

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

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This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I'm Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn't so you don't waste money. I don't do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn't do it without folks like you!).

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