Follow for weekly articles:  Bluesky Icon   Facebook Icon   Flipboard Icon   Instagram Icon   Mastadon Icon   RSS Feed Icon   Threads Icon   Stupid X Icon

Lost Horse Mine, Joshua Tree CA

• 5-star hike
• 4.1 to 7.1 mile options
• Medium difficulty | Gain 550 to 1,100 feet
• Twentynine Palms, CA | Joshua Tree National Park
• Driving Directions: Trailhead

Lost Horse Mine stamp mill preserved in good condition on a hilside. Blue skies. Green scrub vegetation around. 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.

red icon Lost Horse Out & Back 5★
4.1 mi, Out & Back, Medium, Gain 550ft | 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.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

red icon Out & Back, purple icon Lost Horse Loop Expand Map

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.

purple icon Lost Horse Loop 4★
6.7 mi, Loop, Medium, Gain 920ft | 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.
Trailspotting Map at AllTrails

blue icon Lost Horse Mt Side-Trip 4★
0.4 mi, Out & Back spur, Medium, Gain 180ft | Peak baggers will want to take this short 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. The route is marked on our loop trail map.

Hiker walking on a desert trail. Green desert plants scattered over the hillsides. Distant snow-covered peak.
Hiking the old mine road to Lost Horse Mine.

Dwarf Joshua Trees in the foreground. Flat plains beyond with mountain peaks in the middle distance.
Awesome Easterly views over Pleasant Valley.

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

Joshua tree against a blue sky background
Joshua Tree Best Hikes
Trailspotting reviews the Best Hikes of Joshua Tree National Park all in one place.

Hollywood sign hillside view
LA Best Hikes
Explore the natural side of tinseltown with Trailspotting's Best Hikes of Los Angeles.

Yosemite valley view from Tunnel View, featuring El Capitan to the left. Lush green carpet of trees in the valley.
Yosemite's Best Hikes
Epic scenery and adventures await. Trailspotting's Best Hikes of Yosemite National Park is a great place to start.
Presented free of advertising and without warranty as to accuracy of content. Copyright © 2005-2024 Stuart Green all rights reserved. Please share trails safely and respect posted signs. About Trailspotting.