This trail is currently closed due to damages from the 2009 Station Fire

Dawn Mine San Gabriel Mountains trail Angeles National Forest hike Pasadena

Dawn Mine offers a glimpse into the history of the San Gabriel Mountains. The abandoned shafts can be reached on a moderately strenuous 6-mile round trip hike up beautiful Millard Canyon.

To visit the entrance to this forgotten gold mine, start from the Millard Campground parking area and hike half a mile up the canyon to Millard Falls. Take in the falls and back up three hundred feet. You will see a wooden post to your left, marking a steep path up the wall of the canyon. This is the start of the extended trail to Dawn Mine.

Millard Falls
This first section of the Dawn Mine Trail will definitely get your thighs burning!

Take the steep path up along the right rim of the canyon, returning to the creek at a small landing above Millard Falls. Cross the water here and pick up the single track on the other side. The pleasant hike upstream begins anew.

Follow the trail as it routinely crosses the creek, unable to decide which side it wants to be on. The trail breaks up some as the canyon widens, bringing in more California bays and other vegetation. Stick with the stream. As long as you do not exit the canyon, you will arrive at the destination.

The photos in this report depict recognizable milestones to help guide you to the mine. The photos below offer more scenic views of the hike.

Millard Falls
Looking upstream from a little ways above the falls

The trail passes over rusted out pipes and other man-made vestiges.

Millard Falls
Continue past this check cam

You will cross under and over a few logs along your way.

Millard Falls
This old log is nice enough to have a built-in step

When you start to ask yourself, “how far away is this thing,” you are probably getting close. A miles from the mine, the canyon narrows and the creek may disappear underground. The stream bed becomes a boulder field, so take the trail to the left as it winds up a steep slope.

When you come back into the stream bed, you should see these blackened tree roots standing out and covered in white stones:

Millard Falls
Continue past this marker

Follow the dry creek and trail into a wooded area, as you close in on the mine. The trail will cross back and forth across the creek. At one point, when you are walking along the right bank, there will be remnants of an old miners’ encampment in a clearing on the slope to the left. Pay a brief visit to the rusting relics and push on for the last third of a mile to the mine.

The canyon bends to the left, then to the right, as you rock-hop along. When the trail switches up the canyon wall to the left, you are there! Take a look at the rusted engine that once delivered gold from the mine, and ascend to the mouth of the mine. Climb inside and enjoy a moment in the cold shade. If you brought a flashlight you can have a look back into the dark recesses.

Millard Falls
A century-old mining engine

Leave the mine and retrace your steps down the canyon. Take your time and enjoy the calming creek as the sun plays on the water through the leaves of the bays above. You are sure to return to Millard Falls with a feeling of blissful accomplishment. An Adventure Pass is required to park at the trailhead for Dawn Mine in the Angeles National Forest. No other permit is required, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: Take the 210 freeway to Pasadena. Exit Lake Avenue and head north. After 3.5 miles, turn left at the T onto Loma Alta Drive. After one mile, make a right on Chaney Trail. The 1.5 mile road winds up to Sunset Ridge and down to the parking lot for Millard Campground and the trail to Dawn Mine.

Trailhead address: Chaney Trail, Angeles National Forest, Altadena, CA 91001
Trailhead coordinates: 34.216185, -118.146653 (34° 12′ 58.26″N 118° 08′ 47.95″W)

Use the map below to create your own directions to the trailhead:


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Photos

Dawn Mine
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Millard Falls
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Millard Campground
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These photos were taken in March of 2009. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Millard Canyon Angeles hikeDawn Mine
This 6-mile hike from Millard Campground leads past Millard Falls to an old gold mine.
Rubio Canyon Trail Los AngelesRubio Canyon Trail
This 1.3-mile round trip hike ventures into a rustic canyon to a double waterfall.
Angeles hikeMore trails in the San Gabriel Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
Similar Trails
Santa Anita Canyon angeles hikeSanta Anita Canyon Loop
This 9.5-mile loop visits two peaceful creeks in sylvan canyons, passing a 60-foot waterfall and plenty of beautiful wilderness.
Camping
millard campgroundMillard Campground
This is the place to camp at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains. Or, the place to start on a hike to Millard Falls or Dawn Mine.

11 Comments on Dawn Mine in the San Gabriel Mountains

  1. lonnie f says:

    problem here 2011 , from millard campground to the waterfalls is fenced off and do not enter etc USFS signs , . remains closed untill ??

    • lonnie f says:

      To get to the trailhead: Take the 210 freeway to Pasadena. Exit Lake Avenue and head north. After 3.5 miles, turn left at the T onto Loma Alta Drive. After one mile, make a right on Chaney Trail. The 1.5 mile road winds up to Sunset Ridge and down to the parking lot for Millard Campground and the trail to Dawn Mine. hi this is wrong there is no trail head to gold mine from parking lot at Millard Campground , to get to dawn mine trail head you park at top chaney trail ie locked gate sunset fire road before you get to end of road [ parking lot ] then follow cement road till you see sign gold mine trail

      • jaime salazar says:

        Find the Sunset Trail just off the road from the Gate. Go Left to River to then Right Up. Fallow the Black Spray Paint pass the big rock, up the Left to more Arrows to the Left, Cross the River bout 4 or more times, Look for @ Arrows back to back then look up the Mt for the Rock With a X on it & you are there. The 2nd Mine is up the Mt to the Left of the Arrow.

    • Lonnie Fehr says:

      AUG 6 2012 MILLARD FALLS IS CLOSED. ALL OF MILLARD CREEK ALL THE WAY UP PAST DAWN GOLD MINE IS CLOSED. TAKING SUNSET TRAIL BY CABIN TO FALLS OR MINE IS ALSO CLOSED. A FEW HAVE GOTTEN CITATIONS ALREADY…

    • Christie Bergles says:

      We attempted to reach the mine today by parking at the end of Chaney Trail Road and heading down into Millard Canyon. Once we hit the bottom, we walked upstream. We had to end up turning around before reaching the mine. The regrowth was very thick and hard to get through. A local we ran into advised us against that path. He said there are still some falling trees from the fire and also a very real bear presence. Another local informed us the mine can be reached via Sunset Ridge Trail or the paved fire road that runs parallel to it. Head towards Cape of Good Hope and Dawn Station.

  2. Christian Alarcon says:

    The path in from sunset ridge fire road down into to millard canyon is open again, but from the campground to the mountain rescue cabin is still closed. *** The Falls still remain CLOSED ***

    • lon sehr says:

      wrong , millard creek is in clousure area so is dawn gold mine , entering via sunset trail your in the usfs closed area . you can get a fine for being in closed area . map in angeles forest website shows closed area .

  3. jenn says:

    Just did dawn mine hike. GREAT trip. be prepared for many, many boulder hopping adventures, bring a camera and snakes. Don’t attempt with children, and if you are not experienced with hiking.

  4. Pete Baldacci says:

    So is the hike to the mine open ore closed? How many miles round trip? What is the best safest way if I am taking less experienced hikers along?

  5. lrf says:

    as of march 20 2014 , dawn gold mine is still in closed area , usfs no hiking , millard falls is also still in closed to hiking area

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