Saturday, March 22, 2014

Nevada - Ghost Towns and Mining Districts

Next, month I’ll be heading back to Colorado to start on another short term construction project and I had been feeling the urge to get out and do some more exploring. On top of that I’d had been feeling some stress and tired from work so there was no better way to get rid of that stress by getting out. A short camping trip the week prior with an old friend and his family just outside of the Salt Lake area relieved the stress I was feeling but it didn’t quench my desire to get out exploring. So had started doing some searching as to where I wanted to go Moab, Four Corners area, Zions, Bryce or maybe head over to Nevada and explore some old mining districts. 
Needless, to say Nevada won out. I guess the need to explore an area that haven’t seen too many trip reports on or the remoteness of it or just what made it seem like the logical choice. My research mainly consisted of looking at though the ‘Benchmark’ Nevada book at these two website along with some random google searching:
Between these three sources I was able to plot my route or at least a general route – built in some flexibility for trail conditions and fuel options.  The plan was to exploring some of the old mining districts in the Spruce Mountains and Schell Creek Range. Depending on time and fuel I had looked at heading out to the Nevada/Utah to explore some out sites but that didn’t happen this trip.
Come Saturday morning I let my family and a member of the Wasatch Cruisers who lives in the area my plans encase an issue arose. Saturday morning I was out the door a little after 500 am and headed towards Wendover, Nevada. After filling up my tank and my spare fuel can I was back on the highway towards Wells, Nevada and highway 93. Again, after reaching Wells I top off my tank (ya I only put 60 miles between fill ups but I wanted a full tank) and headed off towards the Spruce Mountains and Spruce Mountain road for the first leg of the trip; looking at the ‘silverstateghosttowns’ there are 8 old mining sites in the area – I found 9 using my gps.
On the way out I had been watching the snow levels and trying to determine how far up I would be able to make it up the mountain. Upon reaching Sprucemont I knew that I wouldn’t be able to make it too far up the mountain. With that said I was able to explore Sprucemont, Standard Mine and Ada H. Mine with a failed attempt to find Paramount Mine.
Looking back on the road to Sprucemont
 Sprucemont, Standand and Ada Mine area:

Old fountain wall.

Site of Sprucemont.




After exploring this area I headed up the trail some more to see how close I could get to Monarch mine but the road was site impassable after a certain – snow and ice covered despite some old tracks in it. So I made a 8 point turn and headed back on out for the second leg of the trip.
Heading back out on Hwy 93 to the junction of Hwy 93 and Alt Hwy 93 and a short trip down Alt 93 I was off on White Pint country road 31 to the Schell Creek Range area and off to the sites of Stonehouse, Sunkist, Aurum and Muncy.

The last folks on this road and to come though when the road was still wet their ruts when back and forth all over the road.

First stop was ‘Stonehouse’ and lunch.
The ‘Benchmark’ book is sitting on my dash in this photo.

Careful, where you walk.


Looking into the house (I did not enter it since there was a ‘No Trespassing/Danger Sign).
The old corrals and fallen structures on the site – again color and black and white.

After exploring ‘Stonehouse’ I was off to Aurum and Sunkist – not in that order. Somehow along the way I missed the turnoff to ‘Aurum’ and wound up at the turnoff for ‘Sunkist’ - without my GPS I don’t think I would’ve found this turnoff. After some rough road riding and passing a pack of wild horses (no photo’s, couldn’t get my camera out soon enough). I arrived at what was left of the ‘Sunkist’ mining area.


A couple of old building foundations or what’s left of them.
Found this old wrench just lying around.
The view from atop the hill.

Coming back down the trail I was trying to decided to either back track to ‘Auburn’ or to head on down to ‘Munch’ and hit ‘Auburn’ on the way back – Muncy it was.

Upon arriving in the ‘Muncy’ area I was a little disappointed to what I saw. Just shortly after the ‘Sunkist’ area you could see were there had been a forest fire all along mountain for a couple of miles as well as some debris flows that had come down out of the mountain. So I feared that the town-site was gone. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t be able to find it since the roads that lead back to it had been marked ‘No Trespassing’. In all the research I did on the area I couldn’t find any evidence where the site had burned or any reference to the ‘No Trespassing’ signs (I’m assuming someone bought the property since there was a dumpy trailer or two further back in). Not wanting to risk any issues. I just zoomed in the best I could with camera and just took some photos (my lense isn’t the greatest).

The town/village or whatever you want to call of the Muncy.


The old town of ‘Muncy’ is supposed to be at the base of the mountain.

The debris flow after the fire and I’m assuming one heck of a rain since it had crossed the road by a good 200 ft.

The long road on back.

On the way back I was able to find the turnoff to ‘Aurum’ and headed on back to the old town site. There are numerous trails back in here so trying to find the right turnoff was a little difficult so I wasn’t surprised when I missed it the first time.

What’s left of the town.


The view from up on the hill – there was old cans, scrap metal and a few markers of buildings once stood up here.

One of the reason’s I wanted to come back to this site was to visit the old cemetery – I enjoy seeing the old headstones and who used to live there. Gives the place more of a feeling I guess.




I almost missed the cemetery since it’s off on a side road but I was able to locate it when I was up on the adjacent hill.

After visiting ‘Aurum’ I was trying to decided if I wanted to make the trip up to the ‘Seigel and Centerville’ mining areas since they where just the next hill over but I decided to hold off on that visit since it was late in the day I wanted to head back. So I’ll visit them another time.

Overall, the trip was great and uneventful. Did I see everything I had hoped to see on this trip ‘No’ but it just leaves the door open for another trip maybe next time it will be a group. Thanks for sticking though this post.