Chloride City California

Chloride City California is located within Death Valley National Park and Inyo County, California. The town arose out of silver discoveries in nearby Chloride Cliff in 1873 and is one of the earliest of the Death Valley mines.

The first road through Death Valley was constructed from Chloride City, California to San Bernardino, California which was the nearest town 180 miles away. In the 1870’s ore was shipped out using trains of pack mules which would return carrying food and supplies to the camp. The mines of this small community struggled on for a few years, but by 1880 no mines were producing and everybody had moved on.

Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915
Crowells Mill under construction in Chloride City, CA about 1915

The nearby Bullfrog, Nevada, gold discovery excitement of 1904 brought in new capital. The Chloride Cliff Mine was bought by investors in nearby Rhyolite and re-opened in 1908. Sufficient ore was produced in subsequent years to warrant the construction of a cyanide mill in 1916. By 1918 the camp was deserted again.

The ghost town contains numerous adits, dumps and the grave of James McKay, of whom nothing is known. The town also holds the remains of three stamp mills.

Chloride City Trail Map

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Chloride City

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Chloride City 36.706600, -116.882000 Chloride City California

Potosi Nevada

Potosi Nevada 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.  

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

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 Nevada Mine and Townsite Trailmap

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Potosi Nevada

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Potosi Nevada 35.966900, -115.542000 Potosi Nevada

Hole in the Rock

Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the Hole in the Rock trail is an old Mormon trail in Utah that was used to establish colonies on the east side of the Colorado River in 1879. The Hole in the Rock from which the trail is named, is a narrow canyon from the rim of the canyon down into the Colorado River Valley. This canyon provided access to the Colorado River and the much needed water require to survive in these remote locations. Months were spent widening the narrow canyon to allow “safe” passage of all the wagons and cattle.

Hole in the wall trail in Escalante, Utah
Hole in the wall trail in Escalante, Utah

The original trail was bisected when the Glen Canyon damn bottled the Colorado River and started to fill up Lake Powell in 1966. However, thE road continues to exist and allows access to the Escalante Canyon system, along with access to the Devils Garden, numerous slot canyons and lots of back country hiking and camping opportunities.

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Cathedral Valley

Located in Capital Reef National Park, the Cathedral Valley District of Capitol Reef National Park is open all year and the perfect spot for the back county explorer seeking to get away from it all.

Temple of the Sun, located on Cathedral Valley Trail in Capital Reef National Park, Utah
Temple of the Sun, located on Cathedral Valley Trail in Capital Reef National Park, Utah

Vehicles with high ground clearance are recommended and should have no issues navigating the sandy roads. Road conditions can vary greatly depending on recent weather conditions with spring and summer rains leaving the route muddy and impassable.  The advantage of this location is the back country travel is light, so for the person seeking seclusion, this is the secluded area in a remote location.

The 60 miles loop trail leaves highway 24 at the River Ford which is about 12 miles easy of the visitor center.  The route follows Hartnet Road to the Cathedral Road ( Caineville Wash Road) and returns to Highway 24 near Caineville.  The river crossing is passable most of the time, however care should be taken during the rainy months.

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Shafer Trail

An old cattle trail, the Shafer trail which will test your nerve, as you descend down into the canyons of Canyonlands National Park.  This trail by any sense of 4×4 measure is simple.  It is for more a challenge of nerve over machine.  

Mesa Light taken from the White Rim Trail and Lathrop Canyon Road. Photograph by James L Rathbun
Mesa Light taken from the White Rim Trail and Lathrop Canyon Road. Photograph by James L Rathbun

This is a short, steep and windy trail from the top of Canyonlands National park down towards the White Rim Trail and beyond.  There is no technical challenge on this road at all, but it is the type of trail that will make even the most hardcore traveler smile. There are tight switchbacks as you quickly join up with the Colorado River. Steep cliff faces, extreme drops and amazing views are your reward.  Enjoy, and be sure to take your time.

The trail starts near the visitors center of Canyonlands National monument, winds down through the Shafer switchbacks. Once you reach the bottom, you can go left and follow the Colorado River into highway 279 into Moab. A right turn will take you to the White Rim Trail.  When you get near the potash plant, you may be rerouted onto Potash Road. Simply follow it around the plant to rejoin the Shafer Trail.

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