I meet up with
Dan and Sharon to hike up to the seldom visited King Midas mine. It was mainly worked around WWII era, which is a bit later than many of the others in the region. The tramway was a highlight of the hike for me. It is 3,000′ long and over 1,000′ in vertical height. Some of this double rope tram is still here, but at least the power cable is missing. (We saw pieces of a buried cable in the canyon bottom.)
The mine and canyon cut into some beautiful marbles of the complex Crystal Springs geologic formation. The area is stark, harsh and wonderfully desolate in that
Death Valley kind of way.
The King Midas Mine area is
currently closed. Check the NPS website for when it will be re-opened.
Check out my friend Dan’s excellent page on the
King Midas Mine.
Before we get to the mine, we take a little side trip where Dan shows me a car long ruined in a wash.
Wonder how long this car has been here?
Car and flowers.
Old 55 gallon barrel of Zerolene Motor Oil in the wash.
We discover an outhouse along the trail. It seems to be all by itself though.
Dan at the comfort station.
Cable spool in the wash.
This is a fairly scenic canyon. The marble here is beautiful.
Another ruined old auto.
This looks to be some sort of tram car bucket.
Has a large latch.
Impressive geologic folding.
We find the lower tram terminal. There would have been an ore bin on those wooden beams in the canyon bottom. It is since washed away or been removed.
At the top of the ore bin area.
Dan on the supports.
Looking up the double rope tram system. Only the anchor line remains.
A little fishhook cactus tries to grab me and gets my attention.
The trail leaves the wash and heads through an old barbed wire gate.
Looking back down into Death Valley.
Hiking along the trail.
The first tram tower.
A gentle Mojave breeze is starting to blow in the valley. If you’ve been to this corner of the desert, you know what I mean.
The canyon floor below us.
Tram tower steel post.
Geologic layers of the Crystal Springs formation.
There were a few large rock cairns around. Possibly used to mark claim boundaries.
Dan gets closer to a tram station.
Dan climbs up to the upper working and tram terminal.
The tramway changes direction here. Tram cars would ride the cable, then change to a curved rail, then back on the cable. Much of the station is missing though.
A second tramway cable went down to the bottom of the canyon and another small working.
A look at the mine across the canyon.
Dan and Sharon head over to the mine along a very narrow trail.
This entrance has seen better days.
Dan finds a bedspring in an adit.
There is a sign in one of the workings. Note the blower and air tank as well.
Pry bar and drill steel
Old gauge tucked in the rocks.
A bit of family history on the mine. Very nice to see.
A small Prickly poppy seems out of place here.
Dan tries out first gear. This motor must have run the winch for the mine and possibly the tramway? All of this equipment had to be hauled up on a mule or the miner’s backs!
A straight 4 banger.
A look inside the incline shaft. It is caved in and pretty rotten. Needless to say, we didn’t go in.
Rock wall in the wash below.
Trail along the cliffs.
Another look in this adit.
The switchback trail comes down this slope.
We have fun on some short dry falls in the canyon.
Precambrian marble of the Crystal Springs formation.
The end to another nice hike.