Another Rabbit Hole

I was hiking in the tundra a couple of weeks ago and spotted a tailings pile coming out the side of a mountain off in the distance.  It was directly below an old mine I already knew about.  I made a mental note to explore that area on a future date.

That future date arrived and I went exploring.  Given that it is located near a heavily traveled trail, I didn’t expect to find a hole that you could drive a Corvair into.


Entrance to lower Forth of July Mine.


I didn’t have a flashlight with me.  But even walking in a little way, taking a flash picture, and cranking up the brightness, I still couldn’t see the end.


Not sure how far it goes


It looks stable, so perhaps with a bright flashlight I’ll go in a bit further on a future hike.  I suspect it joins up with a vertical shaft that is running down from 500 feet above.  I’ve previously explored the shaft from above and it’s closed.  The amount of tailings in front of this entrance indicates quite a bit was excavated.

Around the entrance was the requisite old rusting machinery and boiler.

Old boiler and air compressor. A date stamped on one piece is July 28, 1902.


Boiler with firebox doors still intact.


Top of air compressor storage tank


What's left of the steam engine and compressor.


Nearby cabin.


There were numerous sites where old cabins stood.  One was probably the mess hall with a very large wood cooking stove still in the center of it.  What I found interesting was there were steam pipes leading to each cabin site.  Did they use the steam for heating?  Maybe. Typically mining camps would use wood stoves but perhaps this one was different.

9 thoughts on “Another Rabbit Hole

  1. want…to…go. explore! enter! wheeeeeee!

    :::mr grey sighs in an exasperated fashion. i can’t figure out why:::

    i recall you wanting to take us to that area last year (or was it the previous year?)

    i’m eager to be a part of this plan!

  2. It only goes a few more feet and there’s a sign from the BLM that says; “Fooooled you! Sucker.” I’m sure of it ;p.

    We’ve seen a similar boiler at the ruins of the Snow Drift mine, which we had to dead reckon to off the 730.

    • You could be right. If its purpose is to connect with the vertical shaft from above, then it probably is only 100 to 150 feet total as a guess. I could hear dripping water beyond what I could see.

      • he’s only saying that because he doesn’t want us to go in… you know that, right?

        wish i had a picture of the boiler we saw at the snowdrift (it is lost on the old hard drive)…i’m trying to recall the name of them company that was stamped on it. i’m sure there were many of them back then, yet they all look similar and served the same purpose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.