Articles - Lost Mines of Iron Mountain


By Hugh Blanchard

   In an earlier article the writer reported on four mines near Iron mountain close to the East Fork of the San Gabriel River in  which the trails are now apparently non-existent and which have received  few if any visits in recent years.                                              

   I have since received word from Sierra Club hiker Erik Siering that in 1998 he reached the Baldora Mine aka Widco in Dry Gulch about a mile north of the Widman Ranch. He reports the trail is basically gone and he does not recommend this trip.

                                               Baldora Tunnel

  Professor Christopher Earls Brennen reports on a trip he and several Cal Tech associstes made in 1997 attempting to reach Iron Mountain from Mt. Baldy via San Antonio Ridge. The first night they camped near Gunsight  Notch, a gorge just east of Iron Mountain.

   The next morning because of the difficulty in getting through the gorge and because their water supply was getting low they gave up on reaching Iron Mountain and instead headed down the ridge between Dry Gulch and Coldwater Canyon. They soon ran into wire ropes and steel cables of the Gold Dollar Mine.

   They next encountered the main mine shaft and loading station They also found a corrugated metal cabin with a bed, mattress, lantern and other abandoned artifacts. They continued down the canyon occasionally encountering portions of the old trail. At one point they saw a very faint trail going north which may have led to the Eagle Mine. Upon reaching Coldwater. Canyon they found another, more modern miner’s cabin. They then continued down to the Widman Ranch which was unoccupied and from there reached the East Fork Road  via the Cattle Canyon jeep road.  

      Loading Station at Gold Dollar Mine (Professor Christopher Brennen, 1997)

            Cabin at Gold Dollar Mine (Professor Christopher Brennen, 1997)                                                      
   Several miles northwest of Iron Mountain is the area where Vincent Gulch, Prairie Fork and Miner’s Gulch meet to form the East Fork of the San Gabriel  River. Recently the writer explored an 800-foot long miner’s trail  that begins near the bottom of Miner’s Gulch and continues south contouring above the East Fork.

   At one point the unknown miners blasted a 20-foot runnel through a rock outcropping to continue the trail. Where the trail ends a six-inch steel water pipe protrudes down from the hillside above. A search of the immediate area revealed no mine entrance. However the writer recently learned from Davon Grey that there is a mine opening about 200 feet farther on after walking around a ravine. The mine is actually a placer mine dug into the hard packed gravel and was named the Jumbo Channel Placer Mine. It is reportedly collapsed just inside the entrance.

                                Entrance to Jumbo Channel mine

   Finally Doug MacKenzie reports that in 2001 he and a friend went past the Stanley-Miller Cabin  to the entrance of the Stanley-Miller Mine  which he states has an ore cart just inside the entrance and took a picture to prove it.

                                Ore Cart at Stanley-Miller mine

   However no attempt was made in any of the three mines visited to go into the mines.