As I completed hikes I was crossing them off my paper map which was now covered in a fair amount of X’s. The big hike for today was to Lost Horse Mine / Lost Horse Loop trail for a 6.5 mile ass kicking.
The trail starts and immediately climbs but has a gentle ascent that isn’t hard at all.
That doesn’t last for long. Climbs start to get a bit more vertical. Elevation here is around 5,000 feet.
Two miles in you reach Lost Horse Mine, a former gold mine started around 1890 by a cattle rancher named Johnny Lang.
Here are the incredibly well-preserved remnants of a ten-stamp mill used to crush the rocky ore into a powder/slurry to separate the gold.
Views back towards the trail head make those hills worth climbing. (Don’t forget to click any photo for a full-screen view with greater detail!)
Pushing on past the mine the trail drops back down the mountainsides. Views here are breathtaking too.
Notice the large desert basin in the distance? Same desert floor I was looking at from Ryan Mountain this morning (that peak would be located to the left of this frame in the same small mountain range).
This takes you across the face of the mountains for a while, climbing back up and down for another 200 feet of elevation change.
About midway around the loop there are ruins of another prospector cabin. Only items left are the fireplace chimney and some metal bed frames.
From here the elevations flatten out a bit. Just over this ridge it actually starts grading downhill for the remaining 2-3 miles as it winds along Quail Wash.
Back in the lower 4,000 foot elevations there are huge numbers of joshua trees. Seems they do fairly well here and because of the more remote location are less disturbed than other areas of the park.
Here’s a closer view – some of these trees are much larger & greener than I found in other places. Very quiet in this bowl/basin too – would be easy to imagine this is some Dr. Seuss-ian alien planet if you didn’t know better.
This was my last hike in Joshua Tree for this trip but I would definitely come back for the ones I missed. Wish I could have booked the campsite longer but weekends bring tons of destructive jackasses from L.A. For now it’s back to Vegas to crash at a cheap AirBnB and one more day of adventure!
I did the full loop counter-clockwise and it was moderately difficult for me, however I saw many people going the other direction and that seems like a death march. Notice the elevation curve below – doing it this way the final 2 miles are all downhill and quite flat. You can see my speed also picked up around 3mph during this section (usually I’m at about a steady 2mph due to short legs).Lat = 33.9411201 , Long = -116.1367416 -- Show at Google Maps