Elliot Mine Trail

Jacumba, California (SanDiego County)

Last Updated: 03/15/2019
5 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Length: 3.25 miles
Highest Elevation: 4085 feet
Duration: About 2 hours, 30 minutes
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: South
Nearest Town: Jacumba
Nearest Town w/ Services: Jacumba
Official Road Name: Elliot Mine Trail
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: El Centro Field Office


Highlight: Elliot Mine Trail
Nestled within California's Jacumba Wilderness, just over a mile north of the U.S./Mexico border, lies a four-wheel-drive trail with some historical treasures waiting to be explored. Smugglers' Cave, reached by a short hiking trail, is a man-made shelter with ties to early 19th century Native Americans as well as Mexican banditos of the early 1900s. Today, it is a welcoming, shaded resting place for Mexican immigrants braving the trek to the United States. At the end of the trail is the abandoned Elliot Mine which sits atop Tahe Peak. Tahe Peak provides an astounding vista of the granitic rocky oasis known as Valley of the Moon Wilderness as well as views of the Salton Sea and Mexico.


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The Elliot Mine trailhead has a huge staging area and is an ideal place to air down tires. There is a large bulletin board with a map of the entire area. There are no trash receptacles or vault toilets so any refuse needs to be packed out.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: San Diego

From San Diego, head east on I-8 and take the In-Ko-Pah Park Road exit (Exit #77). At the off-ramp, turn right (southeast). Turn right again, heading west on Old Highway 80. Travel approximately 0.2 miles to the Valley of the Moon Trailhead which is on the south side of the highway. There is a large staging area with three roads heading off in different directions: north, south, and east. The Valley of the Moon Trailhead is the northern road and is marked with a "Limited Use Area" signpost.



Land Use Issues

There are no known access issues other than the east side of the trail, which is wilderness and closed to all motor vehicles. Due to its wilderness designation, this trail may close in later years so please respect the land and stay on all designated trails. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reminds the public that archaeological artifacts such as stone tools, pottery fragments, fire pits, stone circles, homesteads, rock cairns/piles, and rock art are protected by federal law and must be preserved for all.

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Writer Information

Marc Nitz

Mapping Crew - California

Marc Nitz is a southern California native who loves exploring the outdoors. This is in large part due to his parents' love of summer road trips. Each summer the Nitz clan would venture out for at least one week driving and camping to assorted U.S. destinations west of the Rocky Mountains. Marc bought his first 4x4 at 17 years old and began seeking out more places off the beaten path. Now 30 years later, Marc explores the countryside with a family of his own. Some of Marc's favorite trails include California's Titus Canyon Road and the Pleasant Canyon Loop Trail, Colorado's Alpine Loop, and Utah's White Rim Trail. Most of all, Marc enjoys meeting fellow off-roaders and he is affiliated with a few 4X4 clubs in Southern California that has allowed him to do just that.
For individual use only, not to be shared.