Ghost Towns, Mines, and More!


This interesting mine and mining camp are located up a canyon in the Saline Valley area. Originally you could drive to the site, and camp inside one of the cabins. Unfortunately when Saline Valley was made a part of Death Valley National Park, the park service closed the road to the mine, erecting a veritable Berlin Wall of steel. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, “Mr. Park Bureaucrat, tear down this wall!”

Anyway, now you have to hike about a mile or so up the canyon to the mining camp. The mine itself is much higher, positioned on the side of the mountain. I arrived just after sunset and barely was able to photograph the mining camp. Someday I hope to return with more time, and hike all the way up to the mine.

So far I’ve found no history for this mine. All I know is that it was a lead/silver mine. There are four standing buildings, all sheathed with corrugated metal. The smallest contains a gasoline engine which must have been connected to a generator; the generator is missing.

Next is a building which I think was either a cookhouse, or the mine supervisor’s house. The interior is accessible and fairly clean, and could still be used for shelter in cold weather.

Two buildings look out over the lower end of the canyon. The longer one is a bunkhouse. The doors are nailed shut; looking through the windows, the interior doesn’t appear to be in very good condition. The shorter building contains some assay equipment, including a small mill for grinding ore and a furnace for melting the ore samples. There are several assay crucibles on a table nearby.

The camp once had a wooden ore bin and terminal for an aerial tram, near to the engine shed. This has collapsed. The tram’s bull wheel is mounted on a concrete foundation downslope from the collapsed tram terminal.

At the base of the hill there is a small dugout. I can’t tell if this was used as a powder magazine, or for storing perishables. It looks pretty rough, so perhaps it predates the current buildings.

Last updated September 2014.

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Bunker Hill Mine, CA