Potosi Nevada

Potosi Nevada is the oldest lode 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.  

Potosi mine, south center of sec. 12, T. 23 S., R. 57 E., the mine workings explore a zone at the base of the Yellowpine limestone. Clark County, Nevada. Circa 1921. Plate 33-B in U.S. Geological Survey. Professional paper 162. 1931.
Potosi mine, south center of sec. 12, T. 23 S., R. 57 E., the mine workings explore a zone at the base of the Yellowpine limestone. Clark County, Nevada. Circa 1921. Plate 33-B in U.S. Geological Survey. Professional paper 162. 1931.

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.

Carol Lombard was killed on a Douglas DC-3, Jan 16, 1942 on Mt Potosi
Carol Lombard was killed on a Douglas DC-3, Jan 16, 1942 on Mt Potosi

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.

Town Summary

NamePotosi
LocationClark County, Nevada
GNIS849366
Latitude, Longitude35.9708047, -115.5408395
Elevation5705
Population100
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Goodsprings Nevada

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.

Goodsprings, Nevada - 1924
Goodsprings, Nevada – 1924

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.

The Pioneer Saloon located in Goodsprings, Nevada is still open and quite busy
The Pioneer Saloon located in Goodsprings, Nevada is still open and quite busy

Goodsprings Mines

  • Alice Mine
  • Argentina Mine
  • Belle Mine
  • Columbia Mine
  • Cosmopolitan Mine
  • Fredrickson Mine
  • Green Copper Mine
  • Hermosa Mine
  • Hoosier Mine
  • Iron gold Mine
  • Lookout Mine
  • Keystone Mine
  • Lavina Mine
  • Middlesex Mine
  • Surprise Mine
  • Table Top Mine
  • Yellow Pine
The mill site located just outside of Goodsprings, Nevada
The mill site located just outside of Goodsprings, Nevada

Goodsprings Nevada Trailmap

Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Blown by wind, and ravaged by time, the Bristlecone pine tree is a silent sentinel of the White Mountains in eastern central California.  Only growing high in subapline mountains, Bristlecone pine trees are among the oldest living organisms, reaching ages of 5000 years old, with on specimen being documented at 5,067 years old by Tom Harlan who aged the tree by ring count.  That calculation confirms this one individual tree to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA
A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The Bristlecone pine groves are found between 5,600 and 11,200 ft of elevation on mountain slopes with dolomitic coils and can be reached using the White Mountain Road.  This harsh alkaline soil gives the Bristlecone a competitive advantage because over plants and tree are unable to grow.  The trees grow very slowly due cold temperatures, arid soil, wind and short growing seasons.

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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.

Once you hit the Muddy Mountains, you will be greeted with large red rock out cropping. Keep on eye out on the right side of the tail for a small damn and water hole. Should you visit at the correct time, you will see tadpoles and frogs in the water.

As you proceed into and through the muddy mountains, there are numerous places to stop and picnic or camp. There is a small quarry that sits on the trail, so be sure to travel carefully if there are workers.

Once you are through the pass, the trail gradually follows the alluvial fan into a drainage. Once in the drainage section, the trails turns into pure sand. Be sure to check the weather when travelling this portion of the trail and keep an eye open for Big Horn sheep and wild horses.

Bitter Springs Trail Map

Nellis Cove

Nellis Cove Road short east trail from Lake Mead Powerline Road to Nellis Cove on the shore of Lake Mohave, Nevada. The route is fairly flat and easy, a suitable for almost any vehicles. However, you may wish to have some tires which are good in the sand. For those interested, overnight camping is allowed up to 15 days.

Lake Mojave is a wonderful destination to visit during the summer months. The waters of the Lake are cool in temperature and offers a great chance to swim, relax and cool down from the scorching sun of the Mojave. I can speak first hand, that a cold beer in the shade while soaking your feet in the cool water is a wonderful thing.

The beaches of Lake Mohave vary in size depending on the water output of the Hoover and Davis Dams. They beach is built up from sand and decomposing rocks, so beach shoes would be recommended. Nellis Cove camping is large enough to allow 4 – 5 campsites. This is a dry camp site in a desert, so although there is a lake, please be sure to bring plenty of water.

Campground Summary

NameNellis Coe
LocationLake Mohave, Clark County, Nevada
Latitude, Longitude35.403584, -114.659445
Elevation655 feet
Sites4 – 5
AmenitiesVault Toilets

Nellis Cove Trail Map

References