Lost Horse Mine Trail Joshua Tree National Park Hike California

The ten-stamp mill and foundation of Lost Horse Mine stand at the end of a gradual 4-mile round trip trail. Lost Horse Mine has one of the best-preserved mills under National Park protection. Unlike less fortunate nearby efforts, Lost Horse Mine was one of the few mineral speculations in Joshua Tree National Park to be productive. According to the NPS, The mine yielded approximately 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver.

Joshua Tree Lost Horse Mine
Lost Horse Mine

The hike to Lost Horse Mine is gentle with just a slight uphill grade. Joshua trees and yucca growl along the trail, and the surrounding landscape really comes alive during wildflower season. Outside of that time, the surrounding boulder strewn ridges can actually become monotonous en route to Lost Horse Mine.

From the trailhead, Lost Horse Mine Trail heads east, before turning southeast toward Lost Horse Mine. After a few miles, the trail begins to cling to the north side of a rocky slope. Wrap around a pair of ravines to spot Lost Horse Mine. The tall, intact mill is enclosed by a chain-link fence, so you must admire it from a safe distance.

If you hike to Lost Horse Mine, it is advised to go the extra mile, or in this case the extra third of a mile, and continue up the steep ridge behind the mine to a vast overlook. You can return the way you came or follow a loop back to the trailhead. No permit is required to hike to Lost Horse Mine, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: From Park Boulevard, take Keys View Road south 2.4 miles and turn left onto a dirt road leading to the trailhead for Lost Horse Mine.

Trailhead address: Unnamed Road to Lost Horse Mine Trail off Keys View Road, Joshua Tree National Park, CA 92277
Trailhead coordinates: 33.9507, -116.15982 (33° 57′ 02.5″N 116° 09′ 35.4″W)

Elevation Profile
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Trail Map

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These photos were taken in November of 2006. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Keys View Trail Inspiration Peak
This 1.2-mile hike leaves the crowds at Keys View for even grander views at a 5,550-foot summit that looks out on the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea, Mount San Jacinto, and much of Joshua Tree National Park.
Hidden Valley Trail Hidden Valley
This one mile loop circles the interior of a small valley surrounded by tall rocks that serves as an excellent bouldering arena.
Ryan Mountain Trail Ryan Mountain
This 3-mile hike offers summit views from the center of Joshua Tree National Park.
Ryan Ranch Trail Ryan Ranch
This 0.8 or 1.2-mile round trip hike visits the ruins of an old adobe homestead beneath Ryan Mountain.
Desert Queen Mine Trail Desert Queen Mine
This 1.6-mile hike follows a level trail to an overlook before crossing a canyon to visits the ruins of one the most profitable gold mines in the California desert.
Lucky Boy Vista Trail Lucky Boy Vista
This level 2.5-mile hike visits a modest overlook at the site of an old mine.
Wall Street Mill trail Wall Street Mill
This level 1.55 to 2.15-mile hike visits a well-reserved gold mill, exploring the mining history of Joshua Tree National Park.
Barker Dam Trail Barker Dam
This level 1.5-mile loop visits a small foreign-looking reservoir within the Wonderland of Rocks.
desert queen mine trail Contact Mine
This 3.9-mile hike ascends 700 feet up a wash, a canyon, and an old road to a mountainside mine site that offers a glimpse into the mining history of Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree Oasis Trail Fortynine Palms Oasis
The 3-mile round trip hike visits a cool desert oasis.
India Cove Trail Indian Cove
The 101-site campground is home to a 0.6-mile interpretive trail and endless bouldering and rock climbing opportunities.
Warren Peak Trail Warren Peak
This 5.5-mile hike summits a peak with impressive views over the west side of Joshua Tree.
high view nature trail High View Nature Trail
This 1 1/3-mile loop climbs a ridge on the west side of the park that offers views of San Gorgonio Mountain and Yucca Valley, along with an introduction to desert plants.
Cholla Cactus Trail Cholla Cactus Garden
This quarter-mile loop allows visitors to stroll through an intense concentration of cholla cacti.
Mastodon Peak Trail Mastodon Peak
This 2.6-mile loop visits a 3,400-foot summit with panoramic views of southeastern Joshua Tree.
Lost Palms Oasis Trail Lost Palms Oasis
This 7.2-mile hike visits a desert oasis nestled between mountains in the southeast corner of the park.
California Trails Hikes in the California Desert
Explore more trails in Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, and Mojave National Preserve.
Joshua Tree Camping Joshua Tree Campgrounds
Nine campgrounds with 500 total sites are spread throughout the park to facilitate your visit.
Joshua Tree Wildflowers Joshua Tree Wildflowers
The desert in bloom is something any outdoor enthusiast in California should see.
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Tagged with · Mines · National Parks
Distance: 4 miles · Elevation change: 400 feet

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6 Comments on Lost Horse Mine in Joshua Tree National Park

  1. ejorgens wrote:

    Two great hikes. The Lost Mine Trail described here as an out and back. But there’s also The Lost Horse Trail Loop which continues on from the mine and returns to the parking lot. The trailhead signs are a little confusing. If you go through the gate, you will indeed follow the 4 mile out and back described here. You could continue on in a clockwise fashion completing the Lost Horse Trail Loop for a total of 6.2 miles.

    What is confusing is the other trailhead sign near the restrooms which say:

    Lost Horse Trail Loop 6.2 miles
    Lost Horse Mine 4.2 miles

    You would be traveling in a counterclockwise direction. Many hikers thought they were hiking 4.2 miles TOTAL, when in fact, they had to complete the 6.2 miles loop. The sign doesn’t lie. It is just misread by almost a dozen hikers I met on the trail.

    Either hike is worth it. Not mentioned is hiking to the summit of Lost Horse Mountain. Even more spectacular than the summit behind the mine that is mentioned, but there is no trail. You have to x-country. There are two peaks to the south. The farthest is Lost Horse Mountain.

  2. […] information: Trip descriptions here (only to the mine) […]

  3. […] popular hike is Lost Horse Mine. A California Gold Rush relic, the well preserved mine dates back to Johnny Lang, a rancher who […]

  4. […] Lost Horse Mine – this was a great hike we did our first afternoon. It was about 4 miles out to the gold mine and back, and took us less than 3 hours! It was pretty neat seeing the old gold mine built into the mountain and imagining how the area looks pretty similar back then as it does today. […]

  5. […] the San Adreas Fault earlier in the morning.  It was better but still pretty hazy.  We stopped at Lost Horse Mine to hike out and see some of the remains of the mining operations that used to exist.  It’s […]

  6. […] was my final day in Joshua Tree. I could say that the Lost Horse Loop trail chose me to explore her, which is as true as any statement I’ve made. My water is low, and […]