Patsy’s Mine

Patsy’s Mine has been closed permanently by the Forest Service. This adventure is no longer availableToday we searched an old abandoned mine near Farmington, and don’t worry, this one is perfectly safe. On the hills above Lagoon, there is a well-maintained trail that leads to the small mine, which is fun to explore. Let me start with the trail.


The trail is fairly steep, and depending on how you hike it, extends around three-quarters of a mile each way (1.5 RT). We chose to take a rough canyon road, which I wouldn’t recommend for most cars, to knock another three-quarters of a mile off the trip. There are complete instructions on how to do this below.

The trail climbs up the mountainside. So wear sunscreen and hats because there is no shade.

The trail cuts back and forth across the face of the mountain as it climbs 500 feet over the first half mile. We saw several types of lizards and a few lazuli-buntings which were really pretty. Despite the steepness of this hike, our 9 and 6 year-olds did great (with only a little slipping) and our 3 year-old hiked around half way. At the half-mile mark there is a sign that points the way right or left. Go left to the mine.

Lots of different lizards!
After you climb up for 1/2 mile, you’ll see this sign. Head left and the trail flattens out for a bit.

The trail flattens out for most of the rest of the hike, meandering north along the face of the mountain. After another .2 of a mile, it turns and climbs steeply again to the mouth of the mine.

You will cross over a large rock fall area and then you will start to climb up again!
You will cross over a large rock fall area and then you will start to climb up again!
You will come to this sign and the mine is just around the corner.
You will come to this sign and the mine is just around the corner.

Make sure you take plenty of light if you plan on going into the mine. Our boys all took their headlamps, and Mom and Dad carried small lanterns and emergency flashlights. The mine travels straight back for maybe 75 yards, and it is tall enough to walk upright except in the two places Dad bonked his head. There are 2 left turns off the main passage. One dead-ends almost immediately, and the other leads to a small room with a ledge to stand on and take a picture. The straight path turns right at the end and there is a shallow pool. Don’t bother entering the pool as there is only 10 more feet to see after the turn, and then it dead-ends.

Patsys Mine
This is the entrance to the mine. You can feel the cool area as soon as you get close.
This is the long tunnel back to the three branches in the back.
You do have to step carefully on rocks, or be prepared for wet shoes.
We took lots of lights and we needed it. It’s pitch black in there!

It is so nice to be in the cave after the hot hike up. We could actually see our breath. There  are puddles on the ground through much of the mine, but you can stay pretty dry if you’re careful and don’t insist on going through that last pool. This cave reminds us a lot of the cave at Ledgemere Campground, though it is much larger and there is a much longer hike to access it.

If you continue past the mine, the trail takes you up to Flag Rock. You can see Flag Rock the entire hike.
The view is quite spectacular up near the mine.

To take our route to the mine, follow 100 East in Farmington all the way to the north end where you’ll see a sign for Farmington Canyon/Skyline Drive. Head right and you will enter a gate, at which point you are 2 miles from the trailhead. Then up at the next gate, take a right again, so you are going south on a narrow dirt road. This road is fairly nasty, but our poor van has done much worse! Follow this road for 1.4 miles and you’ll pass a trailhead sign at about 1.35. The trail sign is hard to see because it’s up from the road, so watch the odometer. There is parking just beyond that sign at 1.4 miles.

The road is pretty rough.
There’s the trail sign way up on the trail. I’m standing on the road to take this picture.  So at 1.35 miles, be watching on your left.
We parked in this open area
We parked in this open area to the side of the road at 1.4 miles.

If you don’t dare brave the road, you can find alternate directions to this adventure from our friends at the Salt Project.

Here’s a short video of the hike and what the mine looks like inside!

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