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Millard Canyon - Dawn Mine

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Waterfall, gold mine, wooded canyon, mountain views
Near:Altadena, CA
Distance:6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:1600 ft
Hike Time:3.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots

Summary: This is a fun hike with quite a bit of diversity. The hike starts out on Sunset Ridge, with great views of Millard Canyon and a 50 foot waterfall. The trail then drops sharply into a dark and heavily wooded canyon with an abandoned gold mine to add an interesting twist to the trek. The hike through the canyon has many lovely spots with gentle pools and small cascades. Bring along a camera. Note that the route show in the topo map was from the hike outlined in 101 Hikes in Southern California. Route finding was a little challenging, so hikers should make sure to have a map when hitting the trail.
Trailhead: From Loma Alta Drive in Altadena, drive up the Chaney Trail (past a locked gate that opens at 6am) to the top of sunset ridge, where there's parking by the roadside. The trail starts east on the gated paved sunset Ridge fire road. (Lat:34.2148 Lon:-118.1477)
Trail Guides for Millard Canyon - Dawn Mine:
101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad  (Wilderness Press)

Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney  (Olympus Press)

Hike Los Angeles Volume 2
by Dennis Gagnon  (Western Tanager Press)

Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs
Ranger Contact:  US Forest Service, 818-790-1151
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 14   Submit your own review
Reviewed by BobC on 11/26/2014
This is an addendum to my post on 11/3. There was still water in the mine but it seemed at the entrance to be somewhat stagnant. I have been going up this canyon since 1956 but have never seen such a dramatic change in not only the course of the hike but the terrain in general. Some very large boulders have been dislodged from above and present significant obstacles. As much as this has been a local favorite of mine for so many years, I will probably wait for a couple more years(unless a friend really twists my arm) to return. With so many trees down and the canopy open in many places, a multitude of new trees and brush are bursting forth. I know change is inevitable, but this one is difficult to witness.

Reviewed by BobC on 11/3/2014
A friend and I hiked this on 11/1/14. It had been almost 2 years since I was last there. Again, trail is open via Sunset Ridge. Once you go down into the canyon as you go past the cabin, from that point to the waterfall is closed, with a sign so indicating. However, going up the canyon is open. I was shocked at the changes in the canyon in the almost 2 years since last there. Many of the trees affected by the station fire have fallen as well as further erosion, rockslides, etc. The stream was there and flowing although at a reduced level. Spotted 1 rattler coiled up within a foot of the trail. Did see a couple salamanders heading away from the stream. Once we entered the mine, there was no sign of the ever present water flow!

Reviewed by BobC on 7/25/2014
I called the Forest Service on 7/21 and was told the area above the falls is OPEN!The area below the falls is closed. So, go up the road, past the short parking area, past the locked gate, past the water storage on the right and up the road. Look for the trail to start on the left.

Reviewed by AJL on 5/23/2014
As of 5/20/2014, the hike to Dawn's Mine is STILL CLOSED. We went into the trail a bit anyway. Trail was difficult to locate... but thanks to some markers someone left before. We made it maybe less than halfway and turned around because we were afraid it was going to get dark fast.

Reviewed by lonnie on 5/4/2014
millard falls is not open abve falls , creek gold mine etc are all still in closed area ,

Reviewed by Julie on 1/26/2014
Trail is open through sunset ridge trail. There are no yellow do not enter flags. Also if you decided to go up the creek to the mine beware there are huge boulders you will have to climb over, if you are in good shape and can climb, but once you get to the mine you have to head back onto the creek. Take a gps in case you get lost. The trail is tricky. You need to remember the path up to the cabin otherwise if you follow the creek southwest you will be too close to the dangerous waterfall drop! You must head back up and towards the cabin. Do not really advise this hike to dawn mine it's too dangerous

Reviewed by Steve B on 1/6/2014
Went on 1/4/2014 to see if Millard Canyon had opened, but it is still closed.

Reviewed by lonnie on 8/18/2013

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Los Angeles County Hiking, Los Angeles County Trails, Los Angeles County Hikes

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