Several Mine Sites in Northern California


After completing our backpack trip of the New Army Pass Loop at the end of September, my friend/brother-in-law Neil F. and I switched to Old Mine exploration. For the next several days we would be changing our mode of transportation from Vibram to BF Goodrich to be able to range from Mono Lake to Downieville CA.

Before leaving Tucson I had tried to put together a list of mines to try and locate and explore. Website authors often use pseudonyms and are vague when identifying the mines and their locations on the websites. So locating the actual name and location can be quite tricky! I told Neil that I had some potential sites to check out but that I couldn't guarantee any success. We both agreed that we would be exploring new country and if we actually found what we were looking for that would be considered frosting on the cake.

As it turns out, we had great success!

Here are a few of the sites that we found:

First on the list for us to visit were several mines in the area of Mono Lake north of Bishop California. We only made it to one of the mines, but it was a good one, the Log Cabin Mine. This gold mine has apparently had quite a lengthy history. It appeared that a fairly recent addition had been made to the mill area.



From the Log Cabin Mine we drove to northwest of Bridgeport California looking for the Golden Gate Mill. It was easy to find as it was sitting next to the Forest Service Road on our way in from the highway. This was great country with large pine trees and flowing streams. The stamp mill was a four post mill which was supposed to have been the strongest of those kinds of mills. It was manufactured by Joshua Hendy whose name we would see a lot as we continued our trip.



The next mine on the list was quite a distance away. We crossed over the Sierras and headed for Auburn California. We were going for the "LaTrinidad" Mine near the American River northeast of town. We drove through Pollock Pines where Neil had logged as a helicopter pilot early in his career. As we traveled westward, I grew more and more concerned about the urban development we were seeing. When we turned onto Foresthills Drive I knew for sure that we had made a mistake. We were expecting a dirt road and it was a four lane highway! We continued however. When we finally turned off on the road to the trailhead for hiking down to the river and it turned into a 4wd track, I was greatly relieved. The Trinidad Mine is a short but very steep hike down from the trailhead. And as was the case for the entire trip, we had the area to ourselves.



Next on the agenda was a mine site whose alias on one internet site is the "Munster Mine". We hiked down to this mine but as it turned out we could have driven. There was a LOTof stuff lying around.



The final mine site on our northern California swing was located near Allegheny California. Neil's computer routed us over a very interesting single lane mountain road down and across the Yuba River. Allegheny still has several working gold mines. We were headed for the Ophir Mine.



After looking over the Ophir mine area, we headed back out to the pavement at Downieville. We arrived there very early in the morning. It is a very interesting looking place.