Gold Mine Tour and a Jeep Ride

Boulder City, NV

While much of our time the past two weeks has been spent dealing with our purchase of a house here in Boulder City, we have managed to get out and have some fun.  One afternoon involved a drive to the south to visit an old gold mine and explore some Jeep roads.  Our friends Steve and Joan (FOSJ) have spent the past few months volunteering at nearby Lake Mead National Recreation Area.  This is at least the fifth winter they have worked here as road monitors, which means they drive a park service vehicle over many of the remote roads around Lake Mead to check for conditions that need attention.  This gives them unique knowledge about where to find the most interesting locations.  For this adventure we were joined in our Jeep by Dave and Sue (Beluga’s Excellent Adventures) as we followed Steve and Joan in their Jeep.  The group headed south on nearby US 95 for ten miles, where we turned east on NV 165.  After 13 miles on that paved road we came to the Nelson Ghost Town, home of the Eldorado Mine Tour.

The area known as Nelson was originally called Eldorado by the Spaniards, who made the original discovery of gold in the area that is now Eldorado Canyon.  The town was the site of one of the first major gold strikes in Nevada and one of the biggest mining booms in state history.  Gold and silver were discovered here around 1859.  The rush to the canyon began in 1861 when several mining camps were established in the canyon along with a steamboat landing at the mouth of the canyon on the Colorado River called Colorado City.

In its heyday, the area established a reputation for being rough and lawless.  During the Civil War, deserters from both armies would wander there, hoping that such an isolated location would be the last place military authorities would look for them.

Among the early mines established was the Techatticup Mine in the middle of the canyon. Disagreements over ownership, management, and labor disputes resulted in wanton killings so frequent as to be routine and ordinary.  Despite the reputation of the mine, it along with others in the town produced several million dollars in gold, silver, copper and lead.  The mines in the canyon were active from about 1858 until 1945.

The current owners of the mine and the land around it are hoarders “collectors.”  The property is covered with old vehicles, while the main building is filled with a variety of “vintage” items.

One oddity near the mine entrance is the tail and wings of an old airplane.  A 2001 Kevin Costner movie,  3000 Miles to Graceland, was shot here.  In one of the scenes an airplane is blown up, but the explosion failed to totally destroy it.  They placed the remains on a pole stuck in the ground, giving the impression that the plane crashed head first right there.

After paying our admission fee, $15 a person, we joined a small tour group and headed for the mine entrance.  Our guide was a bit rough around the edges but he was knowledgeable and had a good sense of humor.

Our tour guide

John and Sue at the mine entrance

In we go!

The tunnel is nicely lit up

Catwalk over what’s called a drift cut

The main shaft has been cleaned out for tours.  At the end of that tunnel we could see ahead into an area that had not been cleaned out.  It was a bit of a mess!

After the tour we loaded up in the two Jeeps and continued east on the paved road as it descended down to the Colorado River.

Near the river we left the paved road and turned back to the west on a Jeep road that  wound its way up into the hills.

John, Pam, Joan, and Steve

The road meandered up and down a series of hills.  At times Steve and Joan were driving below us . . .

. . . while at other times they were above us.

When we reached the highest point in the drive, we looked back to the east and could see the road winding below us with the Colorado River in the distance.

As we rounded a curve, Joan’s sharp eyes spotted this group of onlookers checking us out.

The landscape changed often as we made our way through the mountains.  At one point we passed an area thick with Teddy Bear Cholla.

In a short distance the Cholla disappeared as we went through an area of rounded sandstone.

We ended a great day with a nice meal at a Mexican restaurant in Boulder City.

After finishing all the paperwork necessary to the purchase of our new home, we now head north into Utah for a week long stay in a state park outside Hurricane, just north of St. George.  We had originally planned to follow that with a trip to Page, AZ, along the shore of Lake Powell, but have changed our plans.  Next week we’ll return to Boulder City for final settlement on the house.

But before that we have some adventures scheduled during our stay here in Hurricane.  More on that later . . .

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14 Responses to Gold Mine Tour and a Jeep Ride

  1. georgeyates says:

    Love touring old mines, thanks for the pictures.

  2. What fun. Thanks for letting me tag along.

  3. Ingrid says:

    I love the never ending back roads in this part of the country. Sorry to hear you canceled your Page excursion. We’ll be heading there on Sunday and hope to see Mona Liza and Steve. Always the more, the merrier. But I understand the excitement of the new house!

  4. Sue says:

    3000 Miles to Graceland? My favorite sheep portrait, they are so perfectly camouflaged. I’m so glad you managed to capture them before they fled.

  5. Alicia Baker says:

    I love mine tours! Adding this one to my list for my next Vegas trip!
    Alicia @ GirlonaHike.com

  6. Gay says:

    Nelson is way cool…the first adventure we had in our Jeep which we bought in March 2013 in Las Vegas was to Nelson! We have to return to do the mine tour…sound like fun! So exciting to see the big horned sheep.

  7. pmbweaver says:

    I think most of Nevada used to be rough and lawless…just like Texas.
    Looks like a great mine to tour. I love Teddy Bear Cholla. There are so many of them, it looks like it snowed there. Never been to Hurricane, so we are looking forward to seeing what y’all get into. Enjoy.

  8. geogypsy2u says:

    A great day exploring. Sure makes me wish I had a jeep. Seeing the sheep was truly a bonus.

  9. Laurel says:

    You got some really cool photos of your mine tour. And your views were fantastic on your Jeep expedition. But I’m missing your boots in the overlook photos, haha! Love the Bighorn ewes watching you.

  10. Sherry says:

    Interesting information about the mine and its background. I’d say from what I read that you qualify as an expert. LOL at the “collectors”. I suppose a guide for an old mine such as that one would be rough around the edges. $15 for the tour. Worth it?
    Love your river shots and the one of the 4 of you. Great distance shot of the road and the river. But the very best is the terrific sheep picture that would have been worth the whole day for me. You definitely have their attention.

  11. LuAnn says:

    When Terry and I see all the great places you get to in your Jeep, we are tempted to make that our next vehicle. Looks like you are going to enjoy exploring the back roads near your new home. Enjoy Utah!

  12. Bonnie L Lee says:

    That looks like a fantastic mine tour. How fun that you can go inside. We are in Las Vegas for a few days and I am putting it on the list! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Jodee Gravel says:

    It’s such a great day trip! Love the pics of the mine although we didn’t do the tour ourselves. Love the info on the plane because it really does look like it crashed right there. Those water views are amazing from the highway. We may go back and do the dirt road on a clear day.

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