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.