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Lost Horse Mine, Joshua Tree CA


• 5-star hike
• 4.1 to 7.1 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 551 to 1,086 feet
• Southern California | Joshua Tree National Park
• Driving Directions: Trailhead


The well-preserved hillside stamp mill.

Considered to be one of the best preserved mills on National Park property, the Lost Horse Mine stamp mill crushed rocks in search of gold, night and day for 1894 to 1931. The miner’s efforts were rewarded to the tune of around 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver.

We recommend one of the two trails mapped out below. You'll have to drive a one mile dirt road to reach the trailhead, and parking here is limited considering the popularity of this trail.

Lost Horse Out & Back | 5★, 4.1 miles, Out & back, Medium, Gain 551ft | The hike to the stamp mill follows the old mine road in the direction of rugged volcanic peaks, surrounded by more yucca plants than joshua trees - the latter burning in a 2015 wildfire that swept through the area. Although the elevation profile posted on the trailhead map looks steep, trust us, it isn't.

Sidebar, Fullscreen Map.

Lost Horse Out & Back
Lost Horse Loop

Hike up to the stamp mill between mounds of mine tailings to explore what's left of the mine operations. Tall fencing surrounds the area to preserve the remains and keep hikers safe from the mining works, though we wish the fence at least had some holes through which we could better view and photograph the artifacts.

If you're doing the out and back route, be sure to consider hiking up the hill behind the mine for the best views of the trail - expansive Joshua Tree wilderness views to the East. The cooling breezes at the top were noticeable, but didn’t seem to bother the butterflies we spotted here.

Lost Horse Loop | 4★, 6.7 miles, Loop, Medium, Gain 919ft | Continue on from the mine and around Lost Horse Mountain to discover great views over Pleasant Valley, then a couple of filled-in mine pits and the remains of an old mining house.

We've rated this trail slightly lower than the out-and-back mine trail because most of the return part of this looping route is along flat desert floor. The length of the desert trail does weave continuously through thin forests of joshua trees, which could be considered classic Joshua Tree terrain or featureless desert, depending on your frame of mind.

Lost Horse Mt Side-Trip | Peak baggers will want to take this short 0.4 mile & 167 foot round trip to the 5,313 foot summit of Lost Horse Mountain. Although this trail is referenced on the parks' trailhead map as a legitimate trail, it is not signposted and the route is faint. Try and stay on the trail as much as you can.


Hiking the old mine road to Lost Horse Mine.


Another view of the mine.


Awesome Easterly views over Pleasant Valley.

Tangents:
• External Links: Official
• AllTrails Public: Out & Back, Loop Trail
• Facebook Group: Comment on this article

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