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Eagle Cliff Mine Hike

Joshua Tree National Park

Mojave Desert, California

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Eagle Cliff Mine Hike

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  • The trail starts out on the Split Rock Trail.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • After 0.3 miles, go straight.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Climbing the gully past huge boulders.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Looking back to the trailhead.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • The landmark spire at the top of the gully.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • The trail goes right next to this pine tree at the ridge top.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Eagle Cliff mine shaft is closed for safety.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Original artifacts in the stone cabin.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Stone cabin .- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Original artifacts.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Inside the stone miner's cabin.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Stone cabin.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • This smaller shelter is in the rocks behind the larger cabin.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Looking north to the Yucca Valley from the mine plateau.- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia polycantha).- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
  • Red barrel cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus).- Eagle Cliff Mine Hike
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Unique historic site. Spectacular hike.
Cons: 
Trail is a bit hard to follow. Slippery and steep in places.
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Region:
Mojave Desert, CA
Congestion: 
Low
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
National Park Pass
Total Distance: 
2.40 mi (3.86 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
4,200 ft (1,280 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
392 ft (119 m)
Trail Uses:
Hiking
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Dogs allowed: 
No
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Breezy starting in the afternoon, continuing until evening.
70°F
51°

Fri

Clear throughout the day.
65°F
48°

Sat

Clear throughout the day.
64°F
50°

Sun

Clear throughout the day.
68°F
52°

Mon

Clear throughout the day.
74°F
52°

Tue

Clear throughout the day.
75°F
61°

Wed

Mostly cloudy starting in the evening.
76°F
60°
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

The Eagle Cliff Mine is not on any park maps, and the trail is hard to follow at times, but the trek to this historic site is one of the highlights of Joshua Tree National Park. Allow at least three hours for this 2-1/2 mile hike due to the steepness of the trail and the many interesting artifacts to explore at the site. It is remarkably free of vandalism.

The hike starts at the Split Rock Trailhead, starting at the north end of the parking area. After 0.3 miles, the Split Rock Trail takes a sharp turn left, but the unmarked path to Eagle Cliff heads straight ahead. The trail climbs over two short ridges to a large gully, marked by a unique pointed pillar of rock at the top. The trail goes up the left side of this gully, then crosses over to the right side about half way up. This part of the trail is steep and slippery with loose rock. At the top of the gully, the trail goes over a ridge behind a large pine tree. Follow the trail for a few hundred yards to a pile of white mine tailings and a short horizontal mine shaft. The trail continues to the right of the nearby boulder and the left of three leaning rock slabs. Follow the trail down to a small plateau to the northeast. In the center of this plateau is a large oak tree with the main mine shaft beneath it. The main cabin is about 100 feet to the northwest at the base of the rocks. The second and smaller shelter is about 100 feet past the window side of the cabin between the rocks.

This mine site is remarkable for its intact shelter with original artifacts. It is mind-blowing to imagine miners finding this site, hauling equipment up here, working alone to dig out the shaft, and taking any ore to the Desert Queen stamp mill for processing. It is either a testament to incredible fortitude or incredible stupidity!

Enjoy the historic significance of this site and climb the rock hill to the west for great views. Please don’t disturb the site or the artifacts.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(11 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(28 within a 30 mile radius)

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