The Sunset Mine is located in the Old Dale Mining District just yards outside the Joshua Tree National Park boundary. Famous for the United States and California Flag murals painted on the side of the bunker like concrete hoist shed. A relatively easy 4×4 trek across the Pinto Basin and up Old Dale Road. Though the Sunset Mine, it’s location and photos of the hoist room can be found all over the internet, I could not find any history on the mine other than it was a gold mine. USGS Topo maps show it as the “Sunset Mine” while mindat.org indicates it’s primary name as the “North Star Mine”.

CAMPING: We had heard the Sunset Mine was a great place to camp but boy did we blow it. As we drove up our attention became fixated on the hoist shed and it’s heavy concrete and steel construction. We set up camp inside the hoist room and parked our vehicles just outside of it on the steep, un-level areas surrounding it. The main shaft is right outside the hoist room. The shaft is surrounded by a make shift, flimsy fence that is mostly fallen over. Not a safe place for children or to do some drinking. It wasn’t until morning that we discovered the expansive, extremely level camping area just yards south of the hoist room. This area has plenty of level space for multiple vehicles and tents. A large concrete pad, fire ring and barbecue with an awesome view overlooking the Pinto Basin must have been built for R&R for the miners.

If you know any history on the gold mining operation at the Sunset, it’s owners or operators please comment below!

  • BRETT BARKER

    Reply
    Rating: 4 / 5

    My father and friends were attempting to put the mine back into operation in the 1960’s/early 70’s. Unfortunately, they were just weekend warriors, and, as strong as the hoist house was, people would still break into it and steal equipment. They finally gave it up around 1976 when someone burned the cabin. We suspect that it was the new operators of the Mission Mine, as they needed our claim to build a road to their mine. I spent a lot of long weekends there hiking and shooting during my youth, and just visited last weekend – for the first time in 40 years.

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