The Kokoweef Mine and in fact all of the trails and mines located in the Ivanpah / Mountain Pass area represent exactly why I started Destination4x4. My wife and I routinely drive between our home in Las Vegas, NV and Los Angeles, CA to visit family and friends. One trip we decided to jump off the 15 and just investigate the Mountain Area off of Bailey Road. After a few nice discoveries, we continued our drive home and that night I opened up Google Earth and started investigating the area.
One of my discoveries was Kokoweef. Immediately upon exiting the I-15 at Baily road was a sign for Kokoweef. Little did I realize that I had just walked into a legend of the “Kokoweef River of Gold”. Obviously, I don’t think I have discovered anything, but rather learned more of the desert history which surrounds us all and seldom seen or learned about.
According to Legend, three Piute Indians discovered cave system which became known as the Crystal Cave. The cave system was reported to be thousands of feet deep, and contained an underground river 300 feet across which was rich with placer gold. The location remained a secret for many years, until the 1930’s when Earl F. Dorr learned of the cave system from a Indian ranch hand who worked on his fathers ranch. According to the ranch hand, three brothers Oliver, Buck and George Peysert worked / mined the cave system and recovered some $57,000.00 for 6 weeks of work. During one visit George Peysert is reported to have died
Armed with this little bit of knowledge, Mr. Door reportedly investigated the site with two other men. Reportedly, we found the underground river which “Rises and Falls with Tidal Regularity”, along with fantastic geologic formations. To protect his new find, Mr. Dorr blasted the tunnel closed. On December 10, 1934 Mr Door swore and affidavit to which, he stated that he prospect the area for several days and with 10 lbs of of placer sand from the banks of the underground river was assayed a$2,144.47 per yard and $20 per once of gold.
Mr. Dorr died in 1957 without revealing the location of the cavern entrance to the underground river of gold. From the point of his affidavit in 1934, the site has been submit to multiple mining claims, rumor, story and lawsuits. It is of some note that Earl Dorr worked for another 23 years with the knowledge of a vaste cache of placer gold yet did not seem to act on this information.
The latest lawsuit in the area was closed in 2012, but to my knowledge no vast river of gold at the bottom of a 3000 foot canyon has yet to be rediscovered in the Mojave.
Currently, the two roads to the mine are closed on both sides, so you have to walk up to the mine sight. The terrain is moderately steep, however erosion channels and loose rock make to hike more difficult but well worth the effort. Access from the southern access road on considerabley shorter and not as steep. Once at the top, you are great of the mine portal with is mostly closed and the mine cart rail.