The Eagle Cliff Cabin is a unique and fascinating little place. Many artifacts left over from mining days are still here: Pots, pans, and utensils are scattered about the old wooden shelves. The cabin has a crude stacked rock fireplace and stove. A single window with original panes of glass is in one wall. And a roof made of flattened tin cans and supported by native pinyon logs lies overhead. This is a wonderful glimpse into the life of a solitary prospector.

We first visited this site back in 2000. I had read that a small miner’s cabin was built from stacked rocks in the Joshua Tree backcountry and I wanted to see it. We couldn’t find this place the first time but the second time was the charm. And what a neat spot it is!

I returned in 2013 to take better photos and have a look to see how the place is doing. Some of my photos are older and from scans.

If you head out to visit the Eagle Cliff, please respect this unique place and leave everything there for the next explorer to discover. Removing anything from a National Park is illegal, and besides its real value is there.

History

Discovered by Robert Muir in 1895, a 75-foot shaft was dug following a vein of gold. By 1916, Bill Keys owned it. The mine fell idle but his brother-in-law, Albert Lawton, and a partner did some minor production in 1933. They milled the ore at Keys’ Wall Street Mill. After that, the mine was only intermittently worked. The mine was never a big producer or very profitable.

The mine was too remote to have a road. Ore was hauled out on the back of mules. Exactly who built the rock cabin and lived there remains unclear. Some sources believe it was Lawton.