Underground near Silverton

These are underground photos from a mine in the Silverton area that we explored. I actually didn’t have much underground time planned for this trip, but the mines we did check out turned out to be fantastic.
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San Juan Chief Mill

This scenic ruined mill site was built in the late 1890s and never saw ore from its namesake, the San Juan Chief mine. It is the second mill to be built on this site. In 1900, it had 2 roasting furnaces and 15 stamps.
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Sound Democrat Mill

The Sound Democrat Mill is an awesome find and one of the highlights of the San Juan Mountains.  The mine was first discovered in 1899. Gold and silver ore from the mine was packed on mules over a 13,000′ ridge to the Sunnyside Mill in Eureka Gulch.
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Ramshorn and Skylark Mines

I took a trip to a couple of mines high up in the Central Rocky mountains of Idaho.  I love finding old mines with tramways and these two were great.

A large silver-lead strike was made at the Ramshorn mine (and the Skylark above it) in 1877 and the rush was on. By 1882, a smelter had been blown in, charcoal kilns built and 300 people lived in the town of Bay Horse that had sprung up down in the canyon below. The smelter was closed by 1897 but mining continued until 1925.
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Bannack State Park

Last summer, we visited the fantastic little ghost town of Bannack, Montana, which has been preserved and turned into a state park. It is similar to Bodie State Historical Park but with fewer buildings and no mill tour. Still, remaining ghost towns from the gold rush days are rare and this one is worth the visit.

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Hecla Mining Camp

In 1872, William “Billy” Spurr and James Bryant discovered the Trapper lode high in a cirque on Lion Mountain. News of the silver strike spread and soon other miners staked claims all over the mountainside. The barren slope got its name when a prospector thought he saw a mountain lion high up on the hillside. Turns out it was a white mule, but the name stuck.

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“Meadows” Gold Dredge

After visiting the Yankee Fork dredge, I was really interested to see if I could find an abandoned dredge out in the wild. Were there any left? I started to do some research to see what I could find.
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