I was on Instagram one night and noticed that Patrick Manalo, a photographer in the SoCal area who I follow on IG, posted some scenic pictures that just seemed so different from any hiking pictures I have ever seen! I looked into where he had gone which was Big Horn Mine and then I just had to go too!
By the way, I have no idea how I found Patrick Manalo on Instagram. I’m pretty sure he was on my Explorer page and I found a lot of his pictures aligned with my interests such as food, travel, and adventures.
I posted some information and pictures about this hike on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to join me on this adventure. A good amount of my friends were interested so I created a Facebook event to get the ball rolling. I planned about one month in advance because I knew this hike wasn’t just going to be a simple morning activity that friends can stop by. It was going to be an all day thing.
I’m a planner so I had a rough itinerary planned out so my friends knew what to expect throughout this whole adventure. I ended up being pretty on point with my agenda but below is the schedule you might want to follow accordingly if you plan to check it out:
- 8:30am – Leave Orange County
- 10:00am – Arrive at Grassy Hallow Visitors Center to purchase a $5 Adventure Day Pass. This is to pay for parking. Apparently you can purchase this ahead of time at REI.
- 10:15am – Begin the hike. Take breaks and pictures. Go into the mine!
- 2:00pm – Approximately the time we got back to our car
- 2:45pm – Lunch at Ichi Ichi in Rowland Heights and milk tea at Tenju Tea House
- 5:30pm – Arrive home and rest
If you can, I suggest that you pick up the Adventure Day Pass ahead of time. Grassy Hallow Visitors Center doesn’t open until 10:00am sharp! If you hike earlier in the morning, you will be able to avoid the crowd at the time. By the time we got to to the mine, we had the whole area to ourselves so it was really nice to enjoy the scene. An hour later, there were probably more 20 people onsite and we weren’t able to take decent pictures.
Here are some tips to share with you about this whole hike:
- If you’re going to get there before 9am, you might want to dress warm (in March). We were surprised how cold it was that morning. It was forecasted to be high 60 degrees and low 40 degrees. Once we started hiking, it definitely got warm.
- I was not able to find an exact address to get to this site but if you type in Big Horn Mine or Glassy Hallow Visitors Center on Apple or Google Maps, it will show up. It will be fine to follow those directions.
- You are going to lose reception once you are up in the mountains. Prior to your drive, save the location on your map. Follow the directions from Business Insider on how to save a map without Wi-Fi.
- If you forget to save the map, just know that if you drive by Inspiration Point first and then Grassy Hallow Visitors Center, then you’re heading towards the right direction. There will be a dead end and you will see a lot where you can park. Don’t forget to hang your parking pass up!
- After you park, it can get a little confusing on which trail to take because there are a few different ones. You will see a white gate and right behind that gate is the trail you want to take to see the mine. This hike is a little less than 4 miles round trip.
- There is another trail you can take that is to the far right of the white gate. It’s a skinny hidden trail. I think that trail might be the longer route, 8 miles round trip. You might be able to see an empty cabin and see some snow if you take that route. There might be some restrictions from experiencing the whole hike based upon weather.
- Make sure you have hiking shoes on that are sturdy and waterproof. There were a lot of uneven and sharp rocks so it was nice to have my feet protected. If you wear your regular Nike shoes, you’ll definitely feel the pain. I recommend waterproof boots also because when we went into the mine, there was a stream that the guys accidentally stepped in.
- Make sure to bring:
- Headlamp – It’s nice to use this when you’re in the mine over your smart phone and it feels cool to wear one
- Extra socks & shoes – Just in case you step in water and it’s nice to wear a fresh pair of socks and comfortable shoes after the hike
- Water – You’ll get thirsty in the beginning of the hike because of the uphil
- Sunglasses, hat, & sunscreen – It got pretty sunny on our way up so make sure to protect yourself from burns
Ok, I hope those were some helpful tips for you! I did a lot of Googling and reading Yelp reviews.
Onto the fun stuff, pictures!
Above all of these unprotected metal posts was a mine shaft! We had to climb up some old wooden planks to get there. It was a little scary but we made our way up. To get through, we had to limbo our way into this gated fence. This mine shaft was pitch black and dead quiet but with friends and flashlights, we were able to make it out alive. I wish I had taken pictures here but I didn’t want to risk dropping my camera in an unfamiliar area with minimal lighting.
You will definitely want to check out the mine. We walked pretty deep into the mine but stopped at some point because it was getting too hard to see where the trail was leading us.
Afterwards, we went back outside and took more pictures!
Going downhill was quick and easy. We probably got back to our car in less than 45 minutes. It was so much easier than going up!
We had some thin Oreos on our way down and it definitely brightened our hangry mood. Thanks Edward for bringing them! Once we got to our car, we changed shoes and got comfortable.
We ate in Rowland Heights since it was on our way back home. Then called it a day. After hanging out with each other for 8 hours, we concluded that we were all best friends at a friendship level of 4. Who knows what that level really means but what matters is that we are all best friends! #insidejoke
Thank you Cindy, Stacy, Edward and Tim for joining me on this hike! It was a lot of fun singing in harmony during the car ride. This hike was a nice short and sweet one day get away from Orange County!