SAUCER CANYON MINE
By Hugh Blanchard
Over the years I have hiked up Millard Canyon in Pasadena many times,
usually to visit the well known Dawn Mine. On these trips I paid little
if any attention to a side tributary called Saucer Canyon.
Recently I was advised of a mine located in that canyon. The only
written record I have found of the mine is contained in John
Robinson”s. Mines of the San Gabriels.Robinson writes that an unknown
propector dug a short tunnel there in the 1920’s. A nearby cabin was
suspended in mid-air by steel cables. The cabin was later carried away
in a rockslide and the mine was abandoned.
I was advised that the mine was near the highest waterfall. Saucer
Canyon got its name from several falls with saucer-like pools
located near where the canyon enters Millard Canyon. I started working
my way up the left side of the canyon where there appeared to be a
faint trail while attempting to avoid numerous patches of poison oak.
After several hundred feet the ascent became more and more difficult
with ever increasing exposure.
I finally found myself standing on a narrow uneven ledge with
a steep cliff face on my left and waterfalls far below me on my right.
One misstep and I would do a swan dive 80 feet down to the bottom of
the highest falls.
At this point I noticed some webbing and rope attached to the ledge in
front of me. I held on to the rope for dear life and worked my way
upward on the ledge until I reached a flat, bushy area. To my
disappointment I found no sign of any mine in the area. I then
carefully worked my way down wondering how I could have been so
heedless to have gotten myself in this predicament. I later learned
there is a flagged trail on the right side of the canyon which is
Later I also learned that the mine is located near the head of Saucer
Canyon about a mile above my initial exploration. So a few days later I
hiked out to Tom Sloan Saddle from the Mt. Lowe truck road and from
there went up a ridge top firebreak leading to Brown Mountain.
About a half-mile before Brown Mountain I reached the head of Saucer
Canyon and proceeded to head down. About 1200 feet down I ran into
metal debris and found myself at the top of a 20-foot dry fall.
Working my way around the bottom of the fall I found the mine entrance
partially obscured by a bush. Alas it only went in 35 feet.
Entrance to Saucer Canyon Mine (Blanchard 2005)
My appreciation to Professor Christopher Earls Brennen of Cal Tech
both for furnishing me with the information which enabled
me to find the mine and for installing the webbing and rope which
greatly assisted my earlier climb. Professor Brennen’s web site
contains information on Saucer Canyon and other adventure hikes in the
San Gabriels and other areas.TopHome