While heading out on a trip to Nevada, we rendezvoused for a quick exploration of the old Oro Fino Mine in the Old Dad Mountains of the Mojave Preserve. The mines are closed by iron bat-gates. The cabins, however, have been recently repaired by volunteers and are in good shape.
For about a decade now, some friends of mine have been maintaining the (Buckhorn) Boxcar Cabin out near Death Valley. Before its life in the “Adopt-a-Cabin” program, this simple two-room cabin was once a train boxcar used by miners. Mining prospects were first worked here in the 1930s. In 1958, a prospector named William Carpenter filed the Buckhorn claims. The cabin probably dates from that time. How it got out here though remains a mystery.
We have been visiting this mine many times over the years. It is one of the earlier mines in the War Eagle mine group. It was successful enough that the owners built a tramway down the hillside and developed their own railroad to connect to the mainline Tidewater and Tonopah railroad. Now that’s a good mine!
We’ve visited this mine many times since first exploring it in 2001. It is well-known and well-travelled, but still fun to explore. The mine has miles of drifts and stopes across at least nine levels. It has a few hard to reach passageways and there are connections I still haven’t seen. You can easily spend all day underground.
Down in the southern end of Death Valley, a small group of mines lies hidden in a low set of hills. First prospected for copper and silver in the 1880s, the deposits turned out to be small and the remoteness of the area made them uneconomical. Like many other mines of the era, they never amounted to very much. In later years, the mines were revived and worked briefly for talc. Those too proved to be small and unprofitable. Not much is left from those early mining days, except a few bits of rusted machinery, tin cans and a small, rustic cabin.