A hike to explore an old Gold Mine

03-23-12 – Cleveland Mine


Mine ruins in the background and a water spring in the foreground.


Four days ago I cancelled a planned hike due to high winds and bitter cold. Today, I hike in a t-shirt and get a sun burn. Typical southern New Mexico. I park on the side of Cleveland Mine Road and walk up the old dirt road setting out to explore the mine. There are a variety of old foundations to investigate and photograph, along with the reclamation area that is fenced off. I look forward to checking out the variety of side roads in the future.

I had been up here in the past while walking nearby land for sale. I even saw an old map where it showed the wells, where the miners lived and worked, the old buildings, etc.

The old buildings reminded me of either Montezuma's Castle in Arizona or Castles in southern Spain.


The mine yielded gold, silver and copper from the late 1800’s to the early 1900’s. Here is information from www.NMArcheology.org:


Site description: LA 167597 (435 m north-south by 230 m east-west) is north of the Cleveland Mill and has 65 associated features (Fig. 2). The feature types include shafts, adits, pits, waste piles, trenches, stopes, trash dump or scatter, hearth, metal flagpole, structure, privy, mineral survey point, and a large headframe. Mining was evident in this district prior to 1860, but significant amounts of metals were not recovered until that time. Gold was the major yield, with less production of silver and copper.

By 1868 six stamp mills were in the vicinity and employed 300 miners, eventually growing to 600. In 1905 a two-foot narrow-gauge railway, the Silver City, Pinos Altos and Mogollon Railroad (SC, PA & M) came to Pinos Altos. The ore was shipped to the Silver City smelter, but in 1913 declining silver prices forced the railroad to close, and the line was dismantled. During World War I, the Empire Zinc Company mined zinc from 1916 to 1917 for the war effort. By 1922 the entire Cleveland Mill Camp was abandoned and the machinery removed.


Mines require clean-up, or reclamation, and I found the EPA report explaining what was done for this one:




In this photo, I'm standing near the Cleveland Mine, looking at the Tyrone Mine. From one great mine to another!


The hike was uphill (or the first half was anyway) and a bit strenuous – but totally worth it for the interest of checking out the foundations and such.

3.22 miles / 2.00 hours

47 down / 53 to go


Off with the turtleneck, and on with the t-shirt!





About Gila Hiker

First I hiked 100 different trails in a year, now I write a monthly article in Desert Exposure about a local hike. Come on out to Silver City..... and bring your hiking gear!

Posted on March 24, 2012, in Challenge, Gila National Forest, Hiking, New Mexico, Outdoor Activities, Southwest and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Nice that you throw in some history into your account. 100 hikes in a year–great goal. I did that last year and really enjoyed seeing something new each week.

    • Kyle, it is amazing what I’m learning about the area and the new things I’m seeing. From crashed airplanes to indian ruins and everything in between. Tell me more about your challenge last year!

      • My Challenge was really part of a longer term goal to hike Mt. Whitney which I will be doing in August of this year. I’ve lost a lot of weight along the way (which was the desired side effect). I just happened to do over 100 hikes last year as part of my training–all in Angeles Forest. It starts to get even more interesting when you’ve completed enough in an area to start to see patterns and interconnections as well as the immense diversity. I now hike 3 days a week (so around 150 for 2012). Good luck on your challenge!

      • That’s great! How long will Whitney take you?

      • I’m training to be able to do it in a day, but my permit will allow me three. Since it was such a long term goal, I didn’t want to just get rained out. If the weather is bad, I’ll hopefully be able to wait it out. If the weather is great, I may summit a couple times.

  2. The Blanco Brothers should have been along on this one-you would have come back with pocket

    s bulging with “oro” instead of Hershey Kisses.

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