Old Mines All Over Utah’s Wilderness Areas 

There is a long history of gold mines in Utah. From the native peoples to the Spanish, and all the way up to modern times, people have hunted and dug in this area for rare metals. Discovering these holes dug into the ground can be a fun hobby. 

Many of the open shafts have been covered over by those who dug them to hide them or much later by the forest service for safety reasons. For the person who knows what to look for, the work of these former miners can be located. Here's some tips:

1. A Cabin or Dwelling of Some Sort 

https://youtu.be/Cw_Dpw82Zhk?si=kTWRJ8mv-9RSfdSZ
https://youtu.be/Cw_Dpw82Zhk?si=kTWRJ8mv-9RSfdSZ
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The men who dug the mine had to have a place to live while they worked. Look for old huts or the foundation of a dwelling. These will usually be in a small canyon or burrow. Many times, only the rocks for the foundation are left over with some support beams. Look for household items like cans, parts of chairs or stoves that were left behind. 

2. The Tailings or the Rock Cleared from the Mine 

https://youtu.be/Cw_Dpw82Zhk?si=kTWRJ8mv-9RSfdSZ
https://youtu.be/Cw_Dpw82Zhk?si=kTWRJ8mv-9RSfdSZ
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As they dug the mine, they dumped the rock and dirt down a hill or incline. These tailings will stand out as the rock is all the same size and there usually isn’t anything growing on them even after many years. 

3. The Mine Shaft Opening 

Near the tailings you will find the opening to the mine. These often don’t look the way you picture a mine with an opening big enough to walk into on the side of a mountain. Many times, they are small openings or pits that go straight down.

https://youtu.be/Cw_Dpw82Zhk?si=kTWRJ8mv-9RSfdSZ
https://youtu.be/Cw_Dpw82Zhk?si=kTWRJ8mv-9RSfdSZ
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If they have been filled in, you will only see a depression in the ground like the one above. Look for trees where they could secure ropes to and lower themselves in. This one has nails in the trunks to help secure the rope. 

Near the tailings you will find the opening to the mine. These often don’t look the way you picture a mine with an opening big enough to walk into on the side of a mountain. Many times, they are pits that go straight down and often not very big.
Near the tailings you will find the opening to the mine. These often don’t look the way you picture a mine with an opening big enough to walk into on the side of a mountain. Many times, they are pits that go straight down and often not very big.
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If you want to do your own exploring, be safe and aware of your surroundings. These old mines and the cabins are not in good shape. Stay away from anything that could collapse. 

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