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Forum Index -> Trail Talk -> Mines in the Harts Pass area
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Dogpatch
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Post Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:08 pm    Mines in the Harts Pass area
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We're contemplating a little mine exploration up around Harts Pass/Chancellor/Cady Pass. I know some of these areas are active claims, so we'll skip those. We'd like to check out the abandoned mines.

Is the road from Harts Pass to the Cady Pass trailhead (and road end) passable driving a Toyota pickup?

Are there trails leading from the PCT down into Barron?

To get to the Azurite Mine, is the trail from Canyon Creek and then up Mill Creek at all usable? (I'd read it's a mess, but wonder if anyone has experience with it.)

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Magellan
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Post Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:38 pm   
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Dogpatch wrote:
We're contemplating a little mine exploration up around Harts Pass/Chancellor/Cady Pass. I know some of these areas are active claims, so we'll skip those. We'd like to check out the abandoned mines.

Is the road from Harts Pass to the Cady Pass trailhead (and road end) passable driving a Toyota pickup?

Are there trails leading from the PCT down into Barron?

To get to the Azurite Mine, is the trail from Canyon Creek and then up Mill Creek at all usable? (I'd read it's a mess, but wonder if anyone has experience with it.)

Hopefully I can be helpful, if not encouraging.

When I was there, I was told you could not drive to the end of the Chancellor road.  I am not sure why, but I believe it was mining related activity.  The guys who hang out down there seemed real irritated to see me last time I was there.  I was happy not to leave my truck behind.

There may be.  If there is, they probably head down from just beyond Windy Pass.  It's a frickin mess over there.

I don't know where Azurite mine is, but the bridge over Mill Creek was out for years, and I think the trails over there are basically abandoned.  I could be way off on this one, so call the ranger districts or check the NF website.
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Eric
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Post Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:58 pm   
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There are roads going from around Windy Pass over towards Allen Basin and down to Barron. I would think there is a good chance you would run into miners and a good chance they would not be friendly.

I won't swear to it but my recollection is that that road down from Hart's Pass is signed private and I dunno that it is driveable anyway. You'd probably want 4x4. I agree with Magellan; I would not leave my car there no matter what but that's just me.

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Jake
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Post Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:01 am   
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Last I heard was that the bridge was out below the second Barron townsite on the way to Chancellor, but you could hike the road from there. They were talking about re-building the bridge so they could repair the road into the Azurite mine for an EPA cleanup of the tailing piles there.
You can hike down from the PCT into old Barron but like was said above; most of it is private mine claims.
The road is not posted as no trespassing to my knowledge but gated to vehicles. I've been up in the old town site as guest of some of the property owners several times and they didn't have a problem with hikers looking over the old townsite building and rusty mining equipment, but don't like people exploring the mines for safety and liability reasons. They will keep an eye on you though to make sure you don't damage or litter the area.
Best not argue with these folks, but treat them resectable and let them know that you're just interested in the history of the area and not their gold and you should be OK.
Most of the ACTIVE mine claims are down in and below the later townsite, and that is a great area to explore if you like history.
Naturally, respect any No Trespassing signs you see and have a good time.
Can't give you any current information on the Canyon Creek/Mill Creek trail conditions, but just a few years ago they were OK as I understand it.
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Dogpatch
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Post Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:58 am   
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Lots of good information here, thanks all.

Last week, we managed to get most of the way down the road from Harts Pass to where the road starts up to Barron - but decided to come back with the pickup to get all the way down to the road end. On the way out, we met some miners coming in. The guy was initially skeptical, then warmed up when he realized that we are just in it for the history (and photos), and not interested in going in the mines or poaching anyone's claim.

The Azurite Mine: here's a link to a DNR report, for those interested (scroll down for pictures).

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  Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx
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hikermike
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Post Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:23 am   
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The trail up Mill creek is officially abandonded...for several years.  (I know cuz I asked the rangers AFTER I tried  to go up it.)  If the bridge over mill creek is out, then that is a difficult place to cross.  The Mill crk. trail was burned out with many snags and a big mess to cross and then after that was crossed there is a very dangerous trail washout which in order to cross it would involve climbing up the steep slope to get high enuf to go around it...it's about 3-400' straight down to the river.  The trail up Canyon Creek was a very pleasant trail and good for early season.
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Mike Collins
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Post Sun Sep 23, 2007 8:01 pm   
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I just got back today from taking the road from Hart's Pass to Cady Pass Trailhead. It is open and was easily drivable for the Subaru we used. If a person has a mini four-wheeler they could continue driving up to Cady Pass and almost the entire way to the Azurite Mine. You can't drive to the abandoned town of Chancellor. A hundred yards after driving across Slate Creek (the bridge is long gone) there is a rockslide blocking the road. We spent a good deal of time talking with a placer miner who showed us the small gold flakes he dredged from Slate Creek. He says he mined 40 oz of gold so far this year. Tells me it replenishes each year. He had trout for dinner which he "catches" with his vacuum for the dredge. He belongs to some Washington Miners Association that owns three connected claims on Slate Creek. You can be a member too for $65/year. Then you can placer mine to your heart's delight.
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Dogpatch
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Post Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:24 pm   
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Yikes - are they actually using dredges in Slate Creek?

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GeoHiker
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Post Sun Sep 23, 2007 11:33 pm   
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I have no problem with that.  Leave the miners alone.  They are a huge part of our history and have just as much right to do what they do.  Most are environmentally conscious of what's going on and don't deliberately go out of their way to damage.  They have rules and regs just like every other user group.   The suction dredges cause very little damage to a stream and often times enhance an area.

I was hiking that area several times in the past couple weeks and saw no more damage than what was done to Slate Peak and the surrounding area to allow access for the hiking trails.  I'd like to know who owns the cool looking cabin near Windy Pass.

I want that!.....smile.gif

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Dogpatch
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Post Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:15 am   
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GeoHiker wrote:
I have no problem with that. Leave the miners alone. They are a huge part of our history and have just as much right to do what they do.

Geohiker-

I wasn't suggesting anybody go after the miners - I was merely asking a question. smile.gif I'm pretty ignorant of what goes on down there. I didn't know that dredging was allowed, and was curious. I'd agree that the small-time miners should be left alone.

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marionthegoat
That's a trail ??



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Post Mon Sep 24, 2007 6:44 am    Mines
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I like he two-lung wagon-mounted air compressor near windy pass ....  Along with the giant Atlas diesel rusting away at the New Lite mill site.

If you're camped at the Meadows campground, the Brown Bear mine ( more like a prospect ) is a short walk from the PCT (south) trailhead, about a mile from the campground.  Find the old road to it above the PCT near the trailhead.  Not spectacular, but fairly safe, scenic, and accessible.

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Dogpatch
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Post Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:01 am   
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MTG-

When you were at the New Lite mine site, did you come down from the PCT?  Or up through Barron?

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marionthegoat
That's a trail ??



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Post Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:42 am   
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Dogpatch wrote:
MTG-

When you were at the New Lite mine site, did you come down from the PCT?  Or up through Barron?

I didn't actually visit the New Lite workings, just the mill site which is just W. of Bonita Creek above Barron.  I've been there both ways, but up through Barron makes the most sense.  This was before (1998) the Forest Service cleanup, the mill ruins were scattered all over.   It was also back when gold prices were somewhat modest and nobody paid much mind, now that gold is up around $700 per troy ounce abandoned mines don't look so abandoned anymore.  paranoid.gif

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Timber Cruiser
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Post Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:39 pm   
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I worked on property line surveys for the FS in Barron for a couple of summers back in the 80's.  We were re-monumenting old claim corners and posting line around the ones that had been maintained over the years and were considered private property.  Not much activity up there then.  Ran into a couple of geologists from Canada doing some work to keep a claim active.  They were staying in one of the older dilapidated cabins and visited us in the cabin we rented up near Windy Pass.  It was used in the winter for heli-skiing and was in good shape. I think the Canadians were trying to weasel their way in with us.  They always brought whiskey, and entertained us with outrageous stories like hunting moose in a canoe.  Have heard that the cabin burned down sometime ago.  It was a rough road back then but we could drive right up to Windy Pass.  We checked out a number of the digs as we were searching for monuments.  The largest mine I can remember was on Tamarack Peak.  It had a wicked vertical shaft some distance in.  Still had a coat/equipment rack at the entrance with miner's names on the pegs.
Someday I'd like to hike back thru there on the PCT.  Even though Spring and Manning decried the destruction from the mining, I can't help but appreciate the history.

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marionthegoat
That's a trail ??



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Post Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:51 pm   
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I'd have to agree.  Even if I wasn't a mining history nut ( which I am ), the Barron area offers a lot more in the 'ghost town' sense than many others throughout the west.  The fact that there's still several stamp mill ruins standing in the district is unusual these days.  While most of the historic buildings are flat as a pancake and most of the mines mere holes in the ground, there's still more to this place than meets the casual eye.   With many historic locations in Nevada and California being lost to urban development and new surface mining,  the Barron/Slate Creek area's historic importance is something to treasure, more than whatever ore lies remaining beneath.

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