The Billy Heaton Mine (34°14’27.62″N, 117°45’37.26″W) is located right off the East Fork trail that goes to Bridge to Nowhere. The mine is in such close proximity to hundreds that use this popular trail and goes largely unnoticed. 

Billy Heaton mineBilly Heaton’s mine very close to Heaton Flats. You can even see the stone remnants of his cabins. 

If you’ve reached Heaton Flats you’ve already gone too far. Backtrack a bit and you will see a very obvious use-trail. We turned right and followed it up. It was even paved in some areas….

17422417879_8fa187b84b_oHeading up to the mine as everyone else stayed on the main trail…

In about five minutes we soon approached Billy Heaton’s stonewall remnants of his cabins. There are two ruins in both sides of the mine.

DSC02570View of two stonewall remnants. Yes there is graffiti and litter unfortunately over the decades of dumb people stumbling upon this mine.

DSC02565View of cabins from the other side with mine in upper left hand side. 

DSC02571Approaching the mine shaft… 

According to John Robinson in his masterpiece The San Gabriels, William Tecumseh Heaton came into the East Fork in 1891 and settled into Peachtree Flat (Later known as Heaton Flats). He filed his claim in 1902 and worked his mine “everyday, rain or shine” until his death in 1924.

Billy Heaton MineHistory come alive!

According to Hugh Blanchard, the mine goes in for about 127 feet. We went in all the way but exercise caution!

17582549346_1fe12f07cd_oEnter at your own risk.

The air warmed up a bit as we passed through some calcium deposits from where water seeped through the tunnel. 

DSC02537Very neat calcium deposits

DSC02530At the end of the tunnel

We went in the mine twice and explored the cabin ruins for awhile before jumping back on the East Fork trail with everyone else and heading back home.

DSC02552Cabin remnants…. Could there be more mine shafts up above?

17421181340_90e94bcd16_oBilly Heaton’s footsteps from over a hundred years ago.