Los Angeles and Brooklyn Mines

Deep in the rugged backcountry just outside Joshua Tree National Park lie the remnants of two once-thriving gold mines, the Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

The story of the Brooklyn Mine began in 1890 when prospector John Burt discovered the rich gold-bearing veins in the rugged Pinto Mountains. Burt partnered with F. J. Botsford to work the claim; together, they operated the mine for nearly a decade. In 1899, the Brooklyn Mining Company took over operations, ushering in the heyday of the Brooklyn and adjacent Los Angeles Mines.

From 1899 to 1916, the Brooklyn Mining Company ran the mines continuously, installing cyanide tanks and stamp mills to process the ore. During this period, the two mines produced an impressive $145,000 in gold (equivalent to about $3.7 million today). The Brooklyn Mine was one of the largest in the district, featuring a 550-foot tunnel, 200-foot winze, and four levels of drifts to access the rich ore. The Los Angeles Mine was developed by a 750-ft inclined shaft with five levels of drifts. Water was initially hauled over twenty miles from Cottonwood Spring. Later, a pipeline was built to bring water from the OK Mine a few miles to the north.

After 1916, operations at the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Mines were intermittent, with minor revivals until the 1930s. Today, the mine sites are marked by crumbling foundations, weathered wood structures, and rusting machinery, all testaments to the ingenuity and determination of the miners who once toiled in this unforgiving landscape.  Please leave everything in place for others to enjoy.

The hike to the mines is relatively short, at just 1.8 miles round trip, but reaching the trailhead is a bit more effort. It requires a high-clearance 4WD vehicle and a willingness to navigate rough, washboard roads through Joshua Tree's remote backcountry.