Ubehebe Lead Mine

The Ubehebe Lead Mine is located just west of the Racetrack Playa Road off of the Bonnie Claire Road.  Discovered in 1906, the mine is located on the west side of the Racetrack valley just south of Teakettle junction.    The site was started as a copper mine and during to coarse of its operation would produce lead, copper, gold and zinc.

Ubehebe Lead Mine Trail sign located just off of the Racetrack, Death Valley, CA
Ubehebe Trail sign located just off of the Racetrack, Death Valley, CA

In February, 1908 a large eight foot thick vein of lead ore which was perceived to run through the mountain changed the mines name and destiny.  In order to prepare, the site hauled in 26,000 lbs of provisions to feed and supply a crew of eight men for the duration of the summer.   When processed the order produced significantly lower than expected.  The lack of water, remote location and less than desirable returns caused production of the Ubehebe Lead Mine to be sporadic.

Ubehebe Mine with tramway visible at the top of the hill, Death Valley, CA
Ubehebe Mine with tramway visible at the top of the hill, Death Valley, CA

The site currently has a main adit which is blocked off about 10 feet inside of the entrance.  Several other adits are located up the hillside and all are blocked to entry at this time.  There are a few collapsed buildings of light construction that have given their all against the harsh environment and several foundations are also evident.  An aerial tramway was built to the northern works and a single tramway cable is still suspended and connected to tramway on the ridge above.

Exploring the Ubehebe Mine tails pile, Death Valley, CA
Exploring the Ubehebe Mine tails pile, Death Valley, CA

The entire area has undergone extensive washing: bits of rail and pipe sections lie about near the mine, as do crockery fragments, pieces of glass, and tin cans that have worked down from the camp site. The several dumps nearby contain nothing of historical significance.

Looking back at the jeep, Death Valley National Park, CA
Looking back at the jeep, Death Valley National Park, CA
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Chemung Mine

Located off the Masonic Road between Bridgeport, CA and the Masonic town site, are the remains of the Chemung gold mine.  The Chemung gold mine operated from from 1909 to 1938 and produced over one million dollars in gold.  In the 1920s, the Chemung mine was producing low grade and high grade ore.  The ore was processed onsite, and then shipped to near by Bodie for smelting.

The Chemung Mine located just outside of Bridgeport, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun
The Chemung Mine located just outside of Bridgeport, CA. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Along with the increase cost of mining supplies which reduced growth, a poor gold market and the cost of hauling the ore to Bodie over the poor roads for smelting and little mine was doomed and closed its doors in 1938.

The Chemung mine history is not a mining failure, but a failure of management and litigation.  During its time of production, the mine built and tore down three mills.  During the last year of operation in 1938, 20 men worked the site and less than one year later the mine was closed.  The mine itself produced well, however endless litigation for various reasons doomed the mine.

The Chemung gold mine over looking the Bridgeport Valley.. Photograph by James L Rathbun
The Chemung gold mine over looking the Bridgeport Valley.. Photograph by James L Rathbun

Throughout the 1950s and 1960s new life was found in the mine with the efforts of Elton “Heinie” Heinemeyer.  Heinemeyer mined for years but never struck it big.  Well liked by the town of Bridgeport, CA Heinemeters well being was the source of concern for the people of Bridgeport and it is reported that he would always find time to visit and entertain those who traveled to check up on him.

Currently, the mill building structure is intact but the years of harsh weather have taken its toll.  A mild wind will cause some of the walls to shake or shudder, and the lower outer wall is leaning outward.  In June 2016, bars restricted access to the mines themselves although the mines do offer a cold breeze on a warm day to cool you down.

The Chemung mine still maintains and impressive structure. Photograph by James L Rathbun
The Chemung mine still maintains and impressive structure. Photograph by James L Rathbun

There are stories that the site is haunted by a spirit or ghost, but only on Saturday nights, which seems a bit odd to me.

The Chemung Mine working still seem ready to go. Photograph by James L Rathbun
The Chemung Mine working still seem ready to go. Photograph by James L Rathbun

On a personal note, the Chemung mine surprised me.  I have been to Aurora three times, Masonic at least three times, and Bodie… at least ten.  My last visit to Bodie was in 2013. Afterwards this last trip, I was looking in Google Earth when I “discovered” the Chemung gold mine.  How had this mine, such an impressive structure, evaded my radar for so many years?  It took me three years from that day to make my first visit to Chemung, and this place is definately on my list for a repeat visit.

Time, weather and gravity have taken its toll on the structure of the Chemung Mine.. Photograph by James L Rathbun
Time, weather and gravity have taken its toll on the structure of the Chemung Mine.. Photograph by James L Rathbun
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Silver Star Mine

The Silver Star Mine is a small mine site located off of the Zinc Mountain Road in San Bernardino County, California. The site rests at 4931 feet above sea level in the Ivanpah montains. The lonely site features a small humble cabin the miners used to survive and beat the heat. There is also a wrecked automobile near at the site, which has long since given up the battle against rust.

Silver Star Mine Cabin
Silver Star Mine Cabin

There is not much information available for this location on the Internet and hopefully I will be able to find some eventually. The mine site is also know as the Lucky Lode deposits. The route into the area is reasonably passable and should be suitable for most cars, provided the driver is used to operating on the back roads of the desert.

Silver Star Mine
Silver Star Mine rusted out auto

Some places claim that this mine produced lead, copper and zinc. The fact that this mine is found just off of Zinc Mountain Road offers some credence to a zinc mine. Other online sources claim this is a tungsten mine. A shallow mine shaft is located near the cabin. The shaft contains an old wooden ladder used by the miners and appears to be filled in, collapsed, or suspended after about 20 feet of workings.

Silver Star Mine Shaft
Silver Star Mine Shaft with ladder.

This stark hole in the ground reminds us what a challenges the life of a miner must endure. Hot, dry deserts, narrow, dark tunnels in a hostile landscape.

Silver Star Mine Trail Map

Resources

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

Lost Burro Mine

Founded in 1907 when Bert Shively picked up a rock to throw at some stray burros and discovered gold, the Lost burro Mine is a great destination in Death Valley. The mine was operated from 1907 to the 1970s, with its greatest production of gold being from 1912 – 1917. The road into the mine is just 1.1 mile from Hunter Mountain road located in Death Valley National Park.  The trail is very easy to pass and suitable for most stock SUVs, although it does get narrow in two places.

The Lost Burrow Mine is located off Hunter Mountain Road in Death Valley National Park, CA
The Lost Burrow Mine is located off Hunter Mountain Road in Death Valley National Park, CA

As you approach the site, there is evidence of human occupation and the large amount of tin cans and artifacts gradually increase the closer you get to the mine site.  There is a long history of haunting and curses place upon people who remove artifacts from the location.  There are at least four structures still standing at the site.  The main cabin, a storage cabin, outhouse and the mine located high above on a cliff.  You can enter the cabin and storage cabin but posted warnings of Hantavirus warn of the potential danger.

The Lost Burrow Mine
The Lost Burrow Mine

The Upper Mill

The upper mill site is accessible using a steep short trail and well worth the effort.  The structure appears to be reinforced with guy wires to help maintain its state.  Much of the pulley system remains intact and the terrain and remote location reminds us of what these men endured to survive in this location.

The cabin found at the Lost Burrow Mine is in good shape.
The cabin found at the Lost Burrow Mine is in good shape.

There is evidence of many people returning removed items in the hopes of removing the curse. There are two buildings at the site with the Mill located just to the North.  Two short hikes to the hills above offer amazing views of the Racetrack Valley and Hunter Mountain.

The Lost Burrow Mine cabin interior
The Lost Burrow Mine cabin interior

Lost Burro Mine Video

Lost Burro Mine Trail Map