Hiking Keane Wonder Mine

Last Saturday we headed north to the Keane Wonder Mine. The weather was perfect, not as hot as Friday, and with an occasional breeze. Once again, on paper, the mile long trail didn’t seem like much, but it included 1500 feet of elevation change, which made for a 28% slope. It was sort of like walking up a mile of stairs—which we interspersed with copious breaks and photo stops.

So the Keane Wonder Mine was a gold mine that operated in the late 1800s. I believe it stopped processing ore around 1906, and so the remains of the operation have pretty much been sitting untouched for a hundred years. A major feature of the mine was the gravity-powered tramway used to bring ore down the mountain to be processed. So along the trail there are all these old towers, connected by cables, leading to the top where the ore was loaded up.

I think it took us more than an hour and a half to make it all the way up. A the top we stopped for a snack, explored all the neat old machinery, and poked our heads in the various mine adits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mine before, at least not a hole-in-the-mountain one like these. Stephanie mentioned that the run-down mines and scattered ruins were just like the Old West parts of Disney.

It was quicker coming down the mountain than going up, thanks in part to the promise of pretzel chips, cheddar cheese, and two cold beers back at the car. Once we made it down, we opened the tailgate of our Toyota Matrix Zipcar, kicked off our socks and shoes, and sat on the back-edge with our feet dangling out.

At the bottom of the Keane Wonder Mine
At the bottom of the Keane Wonder Mine
Pipe running along the Keane Wonder Mine trail
Pipe running along the trail, all the way up the mountain
Kinks in the pipe running along the Keane Wonder Mine trail
Periodically there were these kinks in the pipe
Gravity-powered tramway towers along the Keane Wonder Mine trail
Gravity-powered tramway towers to bring down the ore
Keane Wonder Mine trail view
Looking up in the direction of our hike
Reaching the top of the Keane Wonder Mine tramway
Reaching the top of the tramway, 1500 feet up
An old ore cart outside the Keane Wonder Mine
An old ore cart
Inside the top of the Keane Wonder Mine tramway
Inside the top of the Keane Wonder Mine tramway
Inside the top of the Keane Wonder Mine tramway
Three shots inside the top of the tramway
Above the top of the Keane Wonder Mine tramway
Above the top of the tramway
A mine adit
An old mine (just like in the movies!)
Inside a mine shaft
A peek inside the mine shaft
Sweeping view of Death Valley above the Keane Wonder Mine
Sweeping view of Death Valley above the Keane Wonder Mine
Beautiful mountains behind the Keane Wonder Mine
Beautiful mountains behind the mine
Stephanie and Justin after hiking up the Keane Wonder Mine trail
Stephanie and Justin

2 Comments

katie(sis)

great shot of both of you at the end…maybe it will be in next years book :)

Bb

This Is Really Neat!
Like An Old Land MArk.

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