Bitter Springs

Bitter Springs is a 28 miles back country road which connects I-15 to the North shore Road highway 167 located inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Echo Bay.  The trail takes you by old mining roads and washes throughout the Muddy Mountains.

To reach the trail head, head North on the I-15 from Las Vegas. Exit the Valley of Fire offramp (exit 75), and turn right towards the state park, Valley of Fire. There is a lot of excellent camping in Valley of Fire.

Unless you have a need for fireworks or booze, proceed past the Moapa Indian Reservation store. After three miles the paved road bends left. The trail is the dirt road heading straight into the dessert towards the mountains.

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Burro Wash

This scenic backcountry adventure takes you down Burro Wash into the depths of Black Canyon below Hoover Dam by the only route possible on the Nevada side of the Colorado River.

This is a legitimate and open 4×4 trail that will take you down some rocky descents, sandy washes and over a few minor but fun rock obstacles right before reaching the river. This trail should not be taken lightly but for the most part is stock friendly for 4 wheel drive vehicles equipped with low range gears and all-terrain tires. This is an out-and-back trail meaning you will head back the same way you came in. Down by the river would be an excellent spot to stop and have lunch so bring your lawn chairs and a camera and have some fun!

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Devil’s Canyon

Devil’s Canyon in a 4×4 trail out of Jean, Nevada towards a mining district in the hills on the west side of the valley.

Devil’s Canyon Mines

  • Anchor Mine
  • Bullion Mine
  • Christmas Mine
  • Houghton Mine
  • Ireland Mine
  • Little Gem Mine
  • Monto Cristo Mine
  • New Years Mine

 

Devil’s Canyon Trail Map

 

 

Potosi – Nevada

Potosi is the oldest load mine in Nevada and the town site is located just off highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada.  The site was started in 1856 by some Mormon prospectors who were lead to the location with the help of a Piute guide.  The Mormons found the site in April 1856 and a month latter it was named Potosi after the boyhood home of Nathaniel Jones.  They did not begin mining until August after a return trip to Utah for supplies.  By September, the first wagon of ore sent back to Utah for trading and three months later three wagons returned with supplies including bellows, furnace, and hearths among other things.  On Christmas day 1856, an crude adobe furnace was used to smelt ore.

In the spring of 1861, a larger smelter was setup by the Colorado Mining Company at the Potosi Spring.  News of new silver mine spread all over the west in no time.  The town of Potosi was setup 700 feet below of the Potosi Mine or the Las Vegas Silver Mines as they were called and was soon home to 100 miners.

The site continued to slowly grow and develop until 1906.  In 1913 the Empire Zinc Company purchased the rights and was soon Potosi was Nevada’s largest producer of Zinc.  After nearly 100 years of production Potosi produced about 4.5 million in lead, silver and zinc.

 

Potosi Mine and Townsite Trailmap

 

Goodsprings – Nevada

Goodsprings, Nevada 1924

Goodsprings, Nevada 1924

Goodsprings, Nevada is locate about seven miles west of the I-15 near Jean, Nevada.  Mining activity in the area started in 1868 when a group of prospectors formed the New England district and since renamed the Yellow Pine.  Early efforts where soon abandoned due to the lack of silver in the ore.  The prospectors soon moved on, and Joe Good remained and the local springs were named for him.  In 1886, several prospectors from Utah came into the area and founded a permanent site which still exists today.

In 1892, the Keystone gold mine was discovered and established during an increase in activity due to the completion of the Nevada Southern Railways from Goffs, CA to Manvel.    The Keystone mine remained active until 1906 and produced some $600,000 in gold before closing.

An old water tower located inside Goodspings, Nevada

An old water tower located inside Goodspings, Nevada

1901 saw the consolidation of several mines into the Yellow Pine Mining Co.  Only the highest grade ore made it cost effective to deliver to the railroad in Manvel, some 45 miles away from the site.  In 1905, the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake railroad was completed to Jean, Nevada which shortened the distance to deliver down to 7 miles.  Mining activity continued to flourish with improved mining technique, higher mineral costs and lowered delivery costs all of which lean to a peak in production between 1915 and 1918.  During this time the site boasted 800 souls, several stores, a post office, hotel, hospital and a weekly paper.  As with many towns, mining production and profitability waned and the population fell.

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