Rattlesnake Canyon - Mines, Cabins & Springs
Saturday, December 8, 2018 • Trip Report by Jean Hansen
Our group gathered at 9:00 a.m. at the Lucerne Valley Market for the start of the trip. Trip participants were Nelson Miller, Jean & Sunny Hansen, David Mott, Dave Burdick, Dean Linder, Marian & Neal Johns, Janet & Pete Austin, Beth Mika, Jim Watson, Linda Stevens, Gary Hilder and Don Zarzana. There was some concern about the state of the roads in Rattlesnake Canyon due to rain the previous few days, but Nelson Miller, our fearless leader, made the executive decision to proceed as planned, with one change; instead of going out via Baldwin Lake, we would exit via Pioneer Town in Yucca Valley.
We left right on schedule and soon after we turned off the road to start up Rattlesnake Canyon, we met up with Jim Watson and Linda Stevens. At that point, we had all the participants and proceeded up the canyon. The roads were perfect! Because of the recent rain, there was no dust (a pleasant surprise) and the scenery was fantastic. This was a really beautiful drive. As we got further into the canyon, we did start to encounter some rocky areas, but nothing that everyone couldn’t handle.
Our first stop was at an old stone cabin built on a bench on the side of the wash. This was an interesting place, with a fireplace on one side and a bench on the other side. Directly across the wash was an old mine tunnel, which went in about 100-feet.
Then we continued up the wash and, as Nelson had promised, it got rockier and a little tighter and nastier. One member of our group, Don Zarzana, had a slight mishap, getting high centered on a big rock, but with the help of Neal & Marian Johns and a tow rope, he was pulled backwards off the rock and was able to proceed up the canyon.
Our next stop was at the McClure mining area and cabins, where we stopped for lunch. There were several nice old cabins in this area, a big old wooden windmill frame and a nice spring with a series of ponds.
After lunch, we headed out on a very nice dirt road through an exceptionally beautiful Joshua Tree Forest, ending at Pioneer Town. According to the E Clampus Vitus plaque there, Pioneer Town is a movie set dedicated by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers in 1946, hence the name Pioneer Town. The Post Office there is reputedly the most photographed Post Office in the country! Over 200 movies and TV shows have been filmed there. We met the current owner of Pioneer Town right outside the Post Office. At this point everyone went their own ways.
Thank you Nelson, for leading a great trip! ~Jean