Trailhead: Take Hwy 2 west from Wrightwood, past Inspiration Point and the Grassy Hollow Visitors’ Center, down to the Vincent Gap Parking Lot. Once you’ve parked, you will see a trail off to the side, next to the bathrooms.
Length: 3.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 550 ft.
Total time: 2-3 hours, depending on how much time you spend in the mine.
Parking: You’ll need an adventure pass to park, so be sure to pick one up (you can find one at most sporting good stores)
If you couldn’t tell by the title, this is a hike to a mine. A MINE, y’all!
While the mine is closed off, you will still get to see (and climb) mining structures and astonishing views of the valley below.
As if hiking to a mine isn’t cool enough, there’s also a cabin that was inhabited by a Hermit named Vincent who was hiding out in the forest while he was on the lam for murdering people in Arizona.
We went on this trail in January when there was quite a bit of snow on the ground, making the sketchy part of the trail even more sketchy.
About .25 miles into the trail, it will split off. The trail to the left goes to Vincent the Hermit’s cabin, the trail to the right is the mine. We decided to go to the mine first and then loop back around to the cabin later.
As you continue walking down the trail, you’ll notice a bit of an incline. Although we were at a higher altitude, the climb wasn’t particularly bad; however, there are parts of the trail that are a bit tough to walk on, especially when crossing some of the gulches.
Along the way, you’ll also see some mine outlets. Keep going. This is not Big Horn mine. It’s just a preview of the awesome that awaits.
Continue along the path, and about 1.5 miles in you’ll round the bend and then you will see it in all its glory!
Once you get to the mine, you’ll see some pretty interesting structures, great views, and lots of crappy graffiti.
You’ll also see that you can climb up to the entrance of the mine. Keep in mind that if you do this, you’re climbing over rusty, metal and dilapidated wood. So, you should:
a) have your tetanus shot up-to-date
b) be prepared for rotten wood that might give out while you’re walking on it and cause you to die
You’ve been warned.
If you do end up climbing on top, you’ll see the entrance to the mine that is now boarded off. Here, of course, it is also required to do the obligatory “I’m in jail” picture:
After exploring the mine for a bit, you can head back down the trail to Vincent’s Cabin. Nothin’ compliments an abandoned mine like a crazy hermit murder lair in the middle of nowhere! It’s a bit hard to find, so you probably want to have a GPS with a waypoint marked. Don’t ask me how to do that, though, because I don’t know.
The cabin really does come out of nowhere, and, being made of wood, blends in well with its surroundings. Well done, Vincent the murderer. But keep heading on the path and you’ll eventually come to it:
The cabin is open and free to wander around. One of the cool things about it is that it still has pots and pans from ol’ Vinnie’s heyday.
Once you’re done with the cabin, return the way you came without stealing anything because stealing is for losers.