Ready to escape the cold? Winter is one of the best time to visit Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California. Temperatures in the winter average about 60°F (15°C), in the spring and fall the average high is 85°F (29°C).
Joshua Tree National Park has an extensive network of trails ranging from short nature walks to extended backpacking trips.
A good moderate hike with history is the 4 mile roundtrip hike to the Lost Horse Mine. Between 1894 and 1931, the Lost Horse Mine produced 10,000 ounces of gold and 16,000 ounces of silver (worth approximately $5 million today). While there’s little to see of the mine, there is an impressive ten-stamp mill still on the site along with the remnants of water and cyanide tanks. The mill is considered one of the best preserved mills of its kind in a National Park Service unit.
The hike starts at a trailhead located down a dirt road off Keys View Road. (The dirt road is typically driveable in a passenger car, but check at the Visitor’s Center for the latest conditions.) The trailhead has a bathroom and a sign with a short history of the area. For more history, read about the mine on the Joshua Tree National Park Web site.
The hiking trail follows the road developed by the miners to haul ore and supplies. It climbs up and down several times during the 2 mile hike to the mine location. The trail passes through a burn area that damaged the landscape, but not the historic area. While the hike is just 2 miles each way, it is not easy. Several hikers complained that they were unable to hike the entire distance. The park describes the hike as moderately strenuous. Despite the high fence surrounding the mill, it is an impressive structure with several mining remnants in the area to explore. Look for cables, pipes, water tanks and rails.
If you’ve done this hike, tell others about your experience by leaving a comment below. If you have any questions, visit my home page and click on “bio” to email me. To get notified when I publish a new article, click on the “subscribe” button at the top of this article. You can also follow me on “twitter”, just search HikingDebbie.
More hikes in Southern California: Whitewater Preserve near Palm Springs, Whitewater Preserve canyon loop, Corn Springs oasis and petroglyphs near Desert Center, “The Slot” at Anza Borrego State Park, Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, Pam Canyon, Andreas Canyon
Check out my other hiking reports in California, Colorado, Utah & Grand Canyon here.
- Finding a hike in Colorado
- Hiking 101: What do I need to climb a 14er?
- How to hike the Grand Canyon
- Hiking Grand Canyon: Bright Angel Trail
- Hiking Grand Canyon: Phantom Ranch Trails
- Hiking Grand Canyon: South Kaibab Trail
- Must do hike: “The Wave”
- How do I find a hiking partner?