Ghost Towns and Mines


ReWARD mine, CA

The Reward Mine is located on the west flank of the Inyo Mountains, southeast of Independence, CA.

The Reward Mine is actually a cluster of several different mines and structures from various eras. The first mine discovered here in 1860, was called the Eclipse Mine. The most recent is a large adit (tunnel) on the north side of the ridge, which is large enough to drive a car into!

The mines were active until 1935. There was a nearby town called Reward which lasted from 1900 to 1906. Some mining continued off and on up until the early 1970’s.

  1. A.Site of a small mill.

  2. B.Large ore bin and cable incline terminal. The incline, which no longer exists, was used to transport ore down to the mill.

  3. C.Ore bins and chute to lower bin.

  4. D.Old mines with small ore bins and chute.

  5. E.Path from old mine, to site of former incline.

  6. F.Ore bin and aerial tram terminal, serving the “high mine” near the top of the ridge.

The arrow points towards the north, where the large, main adit is located in the next canyon.

Because there is so much to see at this site, I’ve decided to provide a separate page for each area of interest. Below you’ll see a few photos of each structure. Clicking on any of these will take you to that structure’s page, where you will be able to see many more photos showing all details of the structure and its surroundings.

Posted August 2013.

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Above and right: These are the only photos I have of the mill site. Not much is left at the site, and I didn’t have time to explore there more thoroughly.

Below: A view of the mill site from high on the mountainside.

Below: Hiking up the canyon towards the ore bins and chutes.

Reward Mine:  The Lower Ore Bin and Incline Terminal

(Click the title or any photo to see more pics of this structure and its surroundings.)

The lower ore bin is situated partway up the canyon. It was filled via long, tubular metal chutes from another ore bin higher up the mountainside. Underneath the lower ore bin is a hoist and other equipment. These were once used to transport ore down to the mill, via a special ore cart mounted on an incline.

Reward Mine:  The Upper Ore Bin and Chutes

Ore from the mines was loaded into these bins, which funneled it into a long metal chute leading to the large, lower level ore bin.

Reward Mine:  The Old Mines

There are a couple of adits in the middle of the canyon, at about the same level as the upper ore bin. These appear to be the mines which supplied most of the ore to the bins.

There is also a nearly level trail westward from these mines, going to the site of a former incline. Apparently the ore from the mines was originally hauled via ore cart, on tracks along this path, to be sent down the incline.

My guess is that the large ore bins and chutes were built later, and the original incline and cart tracks were then removed.

Reward Mine:  The High Mine and Aerial Tram

Located high on the ridge is another old mine. Much of the hilltop has been hollowed out -- it’s amazing that the top of the ridge hasn’t caved in yet.

There is an unusual wooden ore bin here, with a small aerial tram terminal. The ore from this mine was transported via aerial tram to another ore bin at the base of the mountain.

That ore bin was gone when I visited the site, but I’ve seen fairly recent photos that show it standing, so some idiot must have burned it or torn it down.

Reward Mine:  The Main Adit

The most recent mine is this large adit located in the canyon on the north side of the ridge. This adit is large enough to drive a car into, and extends deep into the mountain. There are numerous branch tunnels and multiple levels, with various shafts, pits, and other openings between them. Although it is possible to drive a vehicle into this mine, and some people have done it, I personally would not recommend it.

Farther up the mountain above this adit, is another, smaller, timber-framed adit and a rusty metal ore bin. On the south side of the ridge is a complex of older mines and ore bins.