Hello everyone! This is a friendly reminder that any of these fun places we may visit, we are a guest at. Please treat both businesses and trails with the utmost respect. We here at Hidden San Diego follow the 'Leave no Trace' mantra, meaning whatever you bring with you comes back with you. If you see trash on a trail, please do your part to help remove it. Remember, we are not picking up trash from another person but instead cleaning up for Mother Nature. Happy adventures!

golden gem mine


Dog-Friendly: No    Kid-Friendly: No


Article & Research by Allison Garton:

This abandoned UNSAFE mine is so easy to miss that you'll walk right by it on your first attempt. While others have braved the partially collapsed entrance, others suffer from claustrophia and will never venture past the leaning timbers. Also known as the Big Blue Mine, the Golden Gem Mine is a collection of three small, no-longer-productive gold mines. While most active from the 1890s to the 1940s, the Golden Gem group only produced about $200,000 in gold. The mine grouping is on adjacent parcels and periodically comes up for sale.

Again, it cannot be stressed enough - abandoned mines are unsafe to enter, especially in an active fault zone. Let the collapsed entrance be a strong warning to all adventurer seekers.

This mine is on the same trail as the Warlock mine. Visit that page to see more visuals on the steps to finding these mines.

Golden Gem Mine

Keep your eyes peeled for a little tunnel up on the hill to your right:

Golden Gem Mine

We peeked in but didn't risk entering.  Not worth being inside during a collapse!

My friend Shane and his friend went inside and took some photos:

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9 Reviews

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9 Reviews


  • Eric mack
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I found this mind on my Adventures long ago it’s in the Julian schist belt the gold is found in quartz lenses in that area if anyone who reads this wants to do some above ground gem mining by Lake Cuyamaca I do private tours on my property guaranteed tourmaline on your hunt pink greens and by colors 619 922 8903 ask for Eric and tell him you want to do the tour

    August 1, 2016

  • M. Heinz
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    If you have explored this mine You have trespassed on land owned by the Colvins and Carl Swepton. This was once a highway owned by the state of California and abandoned by the county of San Diego. Also used as a dumpsite for the county.Notice , your vehicle will be towed while parking on private property. Many local kids have permission to hike and camp on this land . Unless you have contacted the owner you will be prosecuted for trespassing. I am wondering if there was permission obtained here.

    November 6, 2016

  • Braden
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Sorry, M. Heinz, but your information is absolutely incorrect. The Wilcox Toll Road is a public hiking trail. That is NOT private property! People have been hiking on it down to the Warlock Mine and back up for decades and will continue to do so. Get off your high horse and find something else to bitch about. I’m sick of people like you claiming land rights and other nonsense when you have no authority to do so.

    December 1, 2016

  • Dome
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    love that guy

    July 21, 2017

  • Dom
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Yeah honestly love that guy

    July 21, 2017

  • Mike
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    I’ve been in there and yes – it’s tight right at the entrance. After that, you can stand up but it doesn’t go very far back. When I came out, I had wood ticks on me so if you are in the area, make sure to check yourselves.

    And for the “private property”, you can park your car in the cul-de-sac, which is public road and walk on the public trail from there. You will pass a house, so just stay on the trail and you’ll be fine.

    August 12, 2017

  • Leann DeBoer
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    the opening is very small, I had to crawl in on my stomach but once inside it opened up and I was able to stand and explore. It is very hard to find as the trail is quite over grown right now, heading down to the warlock mine it will be on your right (JUNE 2020)

    June 30, 2020

  • Thomas Tefft
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    Very neat little mine. I loved seeing the wood supports inside. My first time visiting the area I went inside, but my 2nd time there was a snake hanging out right inside the entrance so keep an eye out if you’re planning to crawl inside.

    May 27, 2022

  • KL
    Rating Overall Rating Difficulty Finding

    walked right passed and didn’t notice it :(. next time.

    August 14, 2023

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