Lost Mine Trail Hike
Lost Mine Trail is one of the jewels of the park and has been listed as a top 10 hike in the country. I’m not sure exactly what the criteria was for that ranking, but this was a pretty neat hike. The trailhead parking lot is tiny and the rangers recommend you get there by 8am to ensure a spot. Those of you who know Derek know that this can’t happen. So, we took our chances and headed up later in the morning. Sure enough, the lot was full, so we parked down the road about half a mile and hiked up to the hike.
The size of the parking lot limits the number of people on the trail which is nice because it keeps the experience from becoming like Disneyland. Our hike was 5.4 miles with 1300’ so not a big day, but stunning! The trail climbs in and out of pine forest, with oak and juniper trees adding to the scenery. The last mile of trail is the steepest with plenty of rock stairs, some switchbacks, and then a giant rock slab to explore at the end. As we climbed the side of Lost Mine Peak and enjoyed views of Juniper Canyon, Pine Canyon, and the Sierra del Carmen Mountains we wondered about the mine.
Lost Mine Peak was named for the legend of the lost mine of the Chisos. As the story goes, Spanish explorers discovered ore here on their quest for silver and gold. They enslaved the native Chizo tribe and forced them to work the mine, blindfolding them to keep the location of the mine secret. Aha, but the Chizo revolted and killed every last Spanish captor and sealed the entrance of the mine. Legend has it that by standing in the doorway of the church in San Vicente, Mexico, the first light on Easter morning will shine on the mine’s hidden location. Seem like a campfire tale to me.
Pine Canyon Trail Hike
Pine Canyon Trail requires driving down some rough gravel jeep roads to get to the trailhead. This was a 4.2 mile hike with a little over 1000’ of climbing. The trail climbs gently for the first mile and then gets steeper towards the end. The views of the surrounding rock formations and mountains delight the whole way up as you enter the canyon. The pine trees and giant boulders gave the canyon a spooky feeling, especially since we were the only ones on the trail! At the end is a giant cliff and waterfall if there is any water to fall. It was dry when we hiked it but I can imagine what a spectacle it is with water flowing, like when we hiked Cattail Falls.
It’s supposed to be windy and rain tomorrow which will be perfect for our day off!