Location: Santa Ysabel (75 Miles / 1.25 Hours Northeast of Downtown San Diego)
Hours: 10AM – 3PM Thursdays through Mondays
Cost: $75 ($37.50 for kids ages 12-15; Free for Kids under 12); $50 for 1PM-3PM only
Features: Mine for Tourmaline from one of the most famous Tourmaline Mines of the 20th century.
Himalaya Mine Highlights: One of the world’s richest deposits of green and pink tourmaline, sometimes called watermelon tourmaline, is found in San Diego County. Himalaya was one of the most famous mines during the 20th century and has been featured on the Travel Channel. Visitors can just stop by most days of the week to sift through tourmaline ore all day for one set price.
What to Expect at Himalaya Mine
A large pile of tourmaline ore is brought out from the mine to an area adjacent to the Lake Henshaw Resort. Visitors are provided a workspace, screen, and other tools used to sift through the tailings. Anything you find is yours to keep.
Bring along Playtex gloves (the kind you might wear for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms) if you do not want to get your hands dirty. Be sure to bring along ziploc bags and even a bucket to take your precious stones home.
Be sure to dress appropriately. It can get hot in Santa Ysabel during the summer. Check the Inland Forecast to learn more.
On a typical day, you’ll meet a half-dozen or more rockhounds from throughout the United States who try their luck at bringing home valuable tourmaline for their personal collections. Visitors can also buy tourmaline from the Himalaya Mine as well as sunstones shipped from a sister mine in Oregon.
The Himalaya mine is in a remote location so visitors can not go on a tour of the mine. However, from time-to-time, arrangements can be made to take a tour of the Cyro-Genie Mine a few miles away.
Food – You can take a break for lunch at the restaurant in the Lake Henshaw Resort where miners are welcome.
Information on Visiting the Himalaya Mine
- $75 to Mine Gemstones for a day.
- Discounts for kids and 1/2 day (afternoon) visits.
Directions from Google Maps to 25439 SR-76 in Santa Ysabel, CA 92070. (Located at the Lake Henshaw Resort, where you will find cabins and RV sites. Enter the Resort’s convenient store to obtain a passcode you will need to access the area behind the Resort. The dig location is about a 1/2 mile drive beyond the gate.)
Traffic – It is relatively easy to reach the Himalaya Mine during its normal hours for gem stone mining.
Transit – There is no transit service to the Himalaya Mine.
Nearby Attractions – Just a couple miles away is the Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook, which provides a birds-eye view over the entire area and is home to many birds of prey such as hawks, falcons, and eagles. The world famous Palomar Observatory is located atop the mountain beyond the Lake Henshaw Scenic Overlook.