Skidoo California – Inyo County Ghost Town

Skidoo California was famous in the first decade of the 20th century when gold had been found in Inyo County and the town established in 1905. The towns existence was support by the output and economy driven by the gold mines. Within a decade the town was left deserted abandoned. At this time few structures remain and access to the mines are closed to prevent accidents.

Skidoo, CA 1907
Skidoo California, 1907

Right here on the border line between California and Nevada, just a few miles from arid within speaking distance of Nevada’s big, bonanza gold camps of Goldfield, Rhyolite, Tonopah, California promises to give birth to the most wonderful gold mines America has yet produced . . . . Here the golden goddess is again singing her siren song of enchantment and California is again beckoning to the world with a finger of gold: and the world is listening, and looking, and coming–TO SKIDOO!

Rhyolite Herald, 4 January 1907

Skidoo, originally known as Hoveck, is typical of mining towns, which flourished so long as the mines continued to produce. The small town of Hoveck was named for Matt Hoveck, who managed the Skidoo mine. The town was named Skidoo in 1907. The name Skidoo was derived from the slang phrase “23 Skidoo” which was quite popular at this time.

	Cook's horse-drawn wagon at Death Valley's gold mining camp, Skiddo.
Cook’s horse-drawn wagon at Death Valley’s gold mining camp, Skiddo.

The Skidoo Mine operated from 1906 and 1917. During operation the mine produced about 75,000 ounces of gold, which would have been worth about 1.6 million dollars. The mill in Skidoo was the only desert mill which operated complete using water. The water to power the mill was piped in from Telescope Peak was a feat of engineering and work of this still scars the landscape.

The Skidoo Mine is located 65 miles north of Trona, California, at
6500 ft. elevation. The property was established in 1906; the mill
erected in 190?. The mill burned and was reconstructed in 1913.
Owner: Skidoo Mines Co., Skidoo, CA. C. W. Cross, president, and
Crynski , superintendent .

Two systems of quartz veins occur in a pegmatite granite. The main
vein system strikes M-SE and the other E~W. The veins average from
18″ to 2 ‘ in width, with a maximum of 4’.

The ore is free milling and values average about $15.00 per ton. Ore
is hauled to the mill through tunnels. The mill equipment consists
of: ten 850-lb. stamps, five 1150-lb. stamps and amalgamation tables.
Table tailings run to the cyanide plant and precipitated in zinc boxes.
The mill is operated by water conveyed in an 8″ pipeline 21 miles
from Telescope Peak. The pipe was installed at a cost of over $200,000
35 men were employed at the mine mill. Total production to date over

California State Mining Bureau’s “Report of State Mineralogist,” 1915-16, Report XV:
Rare Air Photograph of Skidoo California Taken from the air in 1923
Rare Air Photograph of Skidoo California Taken from the air in 1923

The remains of the town of Skidoo are located within Death Valley National Monument and Inyo County.

The fifteen-stamp mill built by the Skidoo Mines Company is a rare surviving example of an early 20th-century gravity-feed system for separating gold from its ore.

Town Summary

LocationInyo County, California
Latitude, Longitude36.4355016, -117.1475604
Elevation5689 ft / 1734 m
NewspaperSkidoo News
National Register of Places74000349

Skidoo Trail Map


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