Down in Pacoima Creek sits a crumbling tunnel from the 19th century that stands testament to the era of ambitious mining in the San Gabriels. Gold, silver, titanium, and graphite were all mined in Pacoima canyon. The old prospector known as Dutch Louie discovered gold placers along the streambed. In order to recover the gold from the creek in a “distraction-free” way, Dutch Louie & associates carved a tunnel through the rock to divert the creek.The tunnel is anywhere from 100-200 feet long and till this day still diverts part of the seasonal Pacoima creek.
The hike starts at Dillon Divide from Little Tujunga Canyon Rd. Only a short distance on the wide dirt road will take you to the single track trail down to beautiful Pacoima Canyon.
If the seasonal creek is flowing, you’d have to cross it several times. Eventually the trail will lead you to Dutch Louie flat (formerly a campground) and just beyond that sits the hidden tunnel. One can easily imagine where Dutch Louie recovered the gold in the creek bed.
If you continue up Pacoima canyon you eventually reach Dagger Flat. Legend has it that an old prospector was stabbed to death here in the late 19th-early 20th century. Who was the culprit and was it Dutch Louie who was stabbed? The answers are forever lost to time.
Update 5/7/15- Tunnel & Mine
I went down to Pacoima canyon again after having read about a titanium mine further upstream passed Dagger Flats….
The minute I stepped out of the mine, a fire-rescue chopper came and spotted me somehow, way deep in the canyon. They flew by but once they spotted me, circled around me a few times. I made eye contact with them feeling confused at how they found me and why they were there. A second later, they took off. What a coincidence??
I returned the same way I came in, having spotted what looked like some falls. I scrambled up to check it out but it was only dry moss in the form of a waterfall. It looks like it’d be a cool fall when theres water running down it!