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.
Shady Pacoima canyon with Little Tujunga Road slithering around above it.
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.
Pacoima creek with a low flow, still required some creek crossings easily done by way of jumping 🙂
Cairns left for some guidance. Getting close to the tunnel.
Dutch Louie Tunnel! Unfortunately we came when there was no flow through it.
Rusted tool on the rock, maybe a relic?
Doesn’t seem to come off with my super-human strength…
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.
Jeremy in the tunnel with the prospector ghosts.
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….
Mendenhall Ridge Road and the single track trail to Pacoima Canyon on the left, marked by a heavily shot pole.
Passing by some interesting geology…
Fresh and big Wild Cucumber!
Down at the canyon, a still Pacoima creek.
The Dutch Louie Tunnel with the creek flowing through it! Last two times I came to visit there was no stream…
The other side of the tunnel where the creek enters the tunnel. Its actually all underground, buried under that mound of dirt.
A look into what used to be the Dagger Flats Trail
At Dagger Flats….Dutch Louie are you in there??
Going past Dagger Flats, no sign of any trail, but you stick to the creekbed which was dry most of the time.
Gave up on finding any mine bend after bend. Was very pleasantly surprised to find it!
Titanium Mine, Pacoima Creek
Inside looking out
Small Pit inside the mine
Some long water tunnel next to the mine.
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 there’s water running down it!
Dry Falls of Pacoima Creek