From the Park Service:
Step back in time and experience one of the most unique historical mining sites in Death Valley! In November 2017, the Keane Wonder Mine will be reopening after its closure in 2008. Operating in the early 1900s, the Keane Wonder Mine was one of the most successful gold mines in Death Valley. It now remains as one of the best examples of a historical gold mining operation in the national park. What is truly unique about this site is the well-preserved aerial tramway that still has the cables attached.
Traveling one thousand feet down in one mile, the tramway cars began carrying the valuable gold-containing ore from the mine to the mill in 1907. By 1912, the mine was mostly tapped out and major operations ended. In that time, almost one million dollars in gold was hauled down those cables. Visit the site today and take a look at how this engineering feat was able to move over 70 tons of ore per day down the steep Funeral Mountains.
Distance: 3.3 miles RT
Elevation gain: 1500 ft.
Trail: Dirt road
Duration: 2-3 hours
Drive the Beatty Cutoff 5.7 miles north from Highway 190 to the marked
road for Keane Wonder Mine. Drive 2.8 miles to the parking area.
NOTE: The road to the mine is graded dirt, not paved, but OK for all vehicles, which I will confirm with a visit to the Park Rangers on Saturday.
Location of dirt road to the mine from Beatty Road:
From Modern Hiker:
The trail to Keane Wonder Mine was closed in 2008 for badly needed repairs and reinforcement of the ruins, which the Park Service touts as one of the best examples of a gold mine in any National Park.
The trail was re-opened in late 2017 and although it’s not long, it’s surprisingly strenuous. Much of the route is on steep scree and gravel slopes or straight-shots up ridgelines — it wastes no time in gaining elevation and provides precious few breaks along the way. In addition, you’re beginning near the Valley floor and climbing up into the dark Funeral Mountains, so you can expect hot temperatures and constant direct sunlight. Long story short — this hike is tougher than it looks on paper.
But hikers who venture out to the Keane Wonder Mine’s ruins (with all the extra water, shade, sunscreen, and salty snacks they should bring along) will be following in the footsteps of Death Valley history that sound so rich it could almost be pulled straight out of a classic Western movie.
1 – A walk
2 – A longer walk
3 – 3 mile hike w/little elevation gain
4 – 5+ mile hike w/500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)
5 – 5+ mile hike w/1000 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)
6 – 7+ mile hike w/1000 ft. elevation gain
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY: I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends. Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and it’s organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any Valencia Hikers Meetup events, you are releasing the Valencia Hiking Crew Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience. CONTACT ME WITH ANY QUESTIONS!