Copper Creek Falls and Mine – Carlsbad, California - Atlas Obscura
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Carlsbad, California

Copper Creek Falls and Mine

The overgrown ruins of a once thriving World War I-era copper mine. 

Just a moderate hiking distance from the main road of the affluent community of San Elijo outside San Diego, lie the remains of an old copper mine dating back to the early 1900s.

There are several stone ruins scattered around the area, mounds of decades-old copper tailings, and the original dam used by the miners to clean their lode prior to hauling it out. You can stand among the overgrown vegetation and get a sense of the Encinitas Mining Company operation that became one of the largest active copper mines during World War I and was crucial to the war effort.  

The century-old tailings are piled up and the copper dust has an amazing natural oxidized patina. There are endless picturesque scenes along the trail leading up to the ruins. Take time to smell the proverbial roses as the scenery is stunning. 

Know Before You Go

There are several ways to reach the abandoned wonderland. The easiest is parking at San Elijo Road. There is ample parking in front of the vacant industrial property.  Once parked, follow alongside the compounds high concrete walls toward the back of the complex.  Getting warmer... there is a trail head sign that leads explorers to the falls and mine trail. 

The trail is well maintained and open from sunrise to sunset. Keep your eyes and ears open as this is also a popular mountain biking spot and the trail can become quite narrow in spots.