Monday, March 17, 2014

Boriana Mine (abandoned) - Hualapai Mountains - Yucca, Arizona

First off, I apologize in advance for my TERRIBLE proof reading. I just now corrected a ton of errors in this post. 
Last week we were once again in the (Ghost) town of Yucca, Arizona (more on that in a later post).

A very nice young lady working at the little market on the Golf Ball House property told us about an old abandoned mine up in the mountains. Not too many minutes later, we were headed there. I have to admit that it was pretty hairy in parts and we weren't sure if we were going to make it without breaking something. The only way to make it up that road is to have high clearance and four-wheel drive. If we had broken down, we had everything we needed for the long hike out of there. You should always have a second vehicle on a trek like this. Of course we didn't, but as mom and dad always said, "do as I say, not as I do...

The primary production years of the mine were from 1915 to 1943. The mine produced Tungsten, Copper and Gold (in that order). It seems to have been quite an operation in it's day and there were at least a dozen out-buildings in the area. 
 (photo courtesy of: Library of Congress and Wikipedia)

Our little trek originated pretty close to the base of that far mountain range. As you can see, the mine is in ruins. When I took this photo, I was standing on a HUGE mound of mine tailings.  

We are just a couple of miles off the I-40 here and were pretty happy to see what a great dirt road this was. 

 As usual, that nice road didn't last long.

 The road was deteriorating rapidly.

 This was not a very reassuring sight.

Yep, there are people actually living out there. "There" is in the middle of nowhere. I think this stuff belongs to some miners. That little blue trailer is an old classic. 

 Not much of a road anymore

You can tell by the wildly swinging "no headache" charm hanging from the rear view mirror, that this is not a smooth ride.

This is where we considered getting out of the jeep and hiking the rest of the way. We didn't, but only because we thought we were pretty close by then.

At last! After about 14 miles of that road we spotted our destination. All of that orange/yellow and grayish material is mine tailings.

 The obligatory abandoned vehicles

 A lot of old equipment was just left here to deteriorate.

 One of the few, still standing (sort of) structures around the mine.

 This was on the drive in. Some folks really want to get away from it all. 

A stove and oven, now in it's second career as a target.
While I was looking for info on this mine, I saw an article from the Kingman newspaper advising people to stay off the Boriana Road. Apparently, rescuing people off this road (especially in winter) is a normal occurrence. If we had known about this first, I'm sure we'd have done it anyway.



  1. Safety be darned, right?
    Actually quite a bit left of that old town.
    And I don't think I'd want to get away from it all quite that far out in the middle of nowhere.

  2. Pat, what are mine TAILINGS? I'm assuming they are leftover stuff? Gosh...that road sure would have scared us off! Do you have a jeep? We have a Nissan XTerra (NOT 4 wheel drive, but high clearance...)
    Cheryl Ann

  3. Wow---you all are as brave as George and me... We always seem to get off on rugged roads (for us mountains though instead of desert)....

    Amazing photos of the old abandoned mine. Bet you just stood there and thought about how busy that mine must have been at one time... Oh--the memories...

    Beautiful wide-open-spaces out there. Awesome....

    Be sure to check in on my last two posts (today and last Friday) for some of our latest adventures.

  4. Whew- I might have gotten a little seasick with all the jolting on that road. My imagination always runs away with me when I see your pictures. Fascinating!

  5. My back started hurting just looking at that 'road'.
    The tailings from the hundreds of mines around her from the same era and earlier have a lot of arsenic and heavy metals, but there was a fair amount of smelting done also.
    Very nice pics.

  6. I do agree with Shelly, my imagination runs away with me when I visit your posts, Pat! Fascinating pics and what a ride!!! Enjoy your week and have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

  7. you are adventurers! but it is cool to see (in the comfort of my home). :)

  8. You have incredible courage: I had my heart in my throat and all I did was sit and read the story! Being Right There must have been incredible.

    I admire your sense of adventure and spirit. And your ability to tell the story of an amazing place. The history is indeed sad - when it no longer made economic sense for anyone to be here, they simply left everything to rot - but the underlying story makes me want to learn even more about the who, the when, and the why. always inspire me!

  9. Impressive image from the mine and this place looks really something from a movie!
    You got wonderful pictures!

  10. The last sentence makes me smile -- it is something my husband would say! (I posted a sign once that said "Last Chance. Turn Around." We didn't.)

    That was quite a trek. Those abandoned wrecked cars would make a person reconsider if anything would (but obviously nothing would!).. Abandoned houses always make me sad, but I swear in this case I think the ones where someone is still living are just as sad.. .. Seems a little too much isolation for anyone.

    1. The house in this post is my nearest neighbors place.
      Everyone out here is completely off grid and self sufficient. Most of us work from home, we are a lilltl local Mining Company, Dreamstone Mining.
      We are never alone. Our neighbors can see for miles, we all have eachothers backs and help eachother out when needed. Its a wonderful life and not sad at all.

  11. I am glad you made it there and back okay. I would sure hate to be stuck there at night!

  12. LOL!!! You may go down in history as the first to survive this road since the closing of the mine!!!

  13. I probably still would have gone as well. :) It's amazing to me how many of these places you find!! They're all so fascinating.

  14. interesting that the material mined is tungsten. An ingredient in film (and stay with me here) a medium (film) responsible for much of our 'exportation' of the west - made in the west by the west. Same with the Owens Valley.

    btw: your wife must be a good sport. I'd have been screaming at my husband 'turn this thing around NOW' That road is crazy scary

  15. What fun outing, a difficult path to follow, lovely collection of pictures of this lonely place!

  16. Looking at these photos, I find myself missing the west. Beautiful place (in the winter)!

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your trips with us - you're quite the adventurer. Wish I could tag along but will happily settle for pictures and posts

  18. Is it just me or does everyone think abandoned stuff if really cool?

  19. "obligatory abandoned vehicles" this is why we're friends ^_^

  20. Alex - It might be sanity be darned instead! Yeah, this spot was really in the outback. Way outback...

    trav4adventures - You are right about the tailings. We do have a jeep. Usually just the high ground clearance is enough. Sometimes though, like this trip, it was FWD most of the time.

    Betsy Adams - We do the mountains also Betsy! What I was actually thinking was how did they get things in and out of there. Must have been very hard. I'll be over Betsy.

    Shelly - Yep, I still have a couple of bruises from hitting things inside of the jeep. Thanks so much Shelly.

    Should Fish More - Oh yeah! My back took a beating. There is a lot of that out here also. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  21. Sylvia - Thanks for saying that Sylvia. The same thing happens to me when we go to them in person. You have yourself a nice week also.

    TexWisGirl - I guess we are a bit. Not as much as I'd like to be though.

    Carmi - Thanks Carmi! I'm thinking more foolhardy than brave. I'm really interested in the details also. I love doing the research and have a lot of info on this place, but I'm hesitant to include much. If people are half as A.D.D. as I am, they would lose interest if I go too far.

    Cezar and Leia - Thanks so much Leia. It was a pretty cool place. It didn't look very safe to go inside of though.

    Sallie (FTL) - I'm not sure, but maybe it's all about challenging ourselves. I know what you mean about the isolation and it takes a special type to live out there.

  22. Brian - We are very happy also. If we were stuck, we'd hunker down until morning and then start hiking out until we had a phone signal.

    The Chieftess - That's funny Kathryn! On our way out we actually did see a couple of old guys on the road. They were riding quads. They might have been miners. I'm thinking more people hike this road than drive it.

    Baby Sister - Thanks Amanda! There are a TON of awesome old places like this. Your great state has more than it's share also...

    Pasadena Adjacent - My wife is a great sport, but we both want to drive. So we split it up. She was driving during all these photos. I drove us out of there. She also loves to drive our RV.

    It's amazing what much of the world still thinks about "the west." Most of the people you run into during hot season are from Europe. They really are looking for the wild west.

    Leovi - It was very hard and a lot of fun. Thanks Leovi!

  23. sage - I understand you missing it. The stories about your experiences are fantastic. I agree that it's most beautiful (or tolerable) during the winter, but I like it during the summer as well. I just move slower, plan better and try not to do anything stupid.

    Elaine M - It's my pleasure Elaine! I'm not anywhere close to being the adventurer I'd like to be. Thanks!

    Karen Jones Gowen - Well Karen, between you, me and my wife, that makes three! Nah, there are plenty of us out there. I'm glad there's not too many though.

    Lovkyne - HA! That's right Ven!

  24. Pat: Props to your driver, Paula and your tires.

  25. I swear, you have the best captions.

  26. That's quite the non-road. It looks like a really cool place to explore but I can't imagine living out there. I wander if that house belongs to a "prepper".

  27. Wow..that road looked quite bumpy and you two are brave souls to make it that far up.

    What an amazing place or whatever left of it!

  28. That last line is a cracker! Engage 4WD and push on seems to be the motto!

    The "port-a-potties" also made me laugh. I think the fact that the builders of the chapel needed to get "special help" from a senator suggests that the building should not have been build, even in the 50s.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  29. I love those amazing places you show us. Greetings.

  30. Talk about a ride to talk about..My neck would have snapped on all those bumps.. You got some very cool shots..I love old, rusty things and I loved that old car perched halfway down the hill..

    Bumps aside, looks like a great adventure!

  31. David Wallace - Hey Dave! Thanks for the comment. When we're out in the jeep and/or RV, we both want to drive. On this drive, she drove up the mountain and I drove down. That's fine with me because I'm not good at sight-seeing and driving at the same time. Besides, she's a pro and handles our RV like a pro.

    altadenahiker - Why thank you my friend! That's just about all the writing I do these days.

    TS Hendrik - It sure was. I could live out there, but I'd have to move every summer to someplace cooler. Yep, there are a lot of preppers out there. Plus, people in rural and not-so rural parts of Arizona are almost always armed, so they got that part covered. Seriously, a permit to carry a concealed weapon is no problem in Arizona. Not like my state...

    Icy BC - It was darn bumpy! I'd say more foolhardy than brave.

  32. Stewart M - Thanks Stewart! I think you have the motto just about right.

    I'm not sure if I ever did a post on that place. If I did, I'm sure I would have included the "port-a-potty." I'm going to have to check.

    Japy - Thank you Japy! It is my pleasure.

    sixdegreesphootography - Yep, it was rough but fun. My wife and I have both had spine surgeries and felt it a bit afterwards. There are so many old cars and trucks abandoned in these areas. Usually very old ones... Thanks so much Lynne!

  33. Judging by what I know about you guys, yep, if you had known about that warning, you'd have gone up there anyway! Glad you lived to show-and-tell the glorious tale. Those rusted old cars didn't survive the trek, but look so dramatic in that landscape, like they were made for photos. You 2 sure are adventurous! Happy Trails!!

  34. Haha! I like the way you think Pat! There's no place you can't go when you have a reliable 4 wheel drive right! Just don't try it in the wet weather :) Always fascinates me the places that you find way out in the middle of nowhere.. in their hey day would they have still been considered 'in the middle of nowhere'? I guess most mining operations would be!

  35. I cant get over how much some of these desert places are like places we have in the outback.
    Gorgeous photos. Glad you braved that road and came away alive

  36. When my oldest goes 4bying, he and his buddies spend all day pulling each other's jeeps out of bogs and quagmires! You were lucky to get out alive! Haha

  37. When my oldest goes 4bying, he and his buddies spend all day pulling each other's jeeps out of bogs and quagmires! You were lucky to get out alive! Haha

  38. Stickup Artist - Yep, we are crazy like that! I agree about the old cars. I hate that people dump them in the desert, but for some reason the really old vehicles don't bother me at all. Happy Trails to you also.

    PerthDailyPhoto - Thanks! You are right about that. Much easier when things are dry. This area was pretty much always in the middle of nowhere.

    Mynx - Someday, I hope to see your deserts. Thanks so much!

    Rosemary - Not much danger of that happening around here. There aren't many quagmires or bogs.

  39. Love checking out old mines, looks fun. Sometimes you can walk faster than driving certain roads like that and you usually end up seeing more by walking than driving. I could see myself living out there.

  40. Daren R. Sefcik - I like old mines also, but I don't go in them as much as I used to. I know what you mean about walking instead of driving. We probably should have done that when it crazy. Especially because we were alone. We were prepared to spend the night up there or hike out of there.

    Thanks for the comment Daren.

  41. Great Photos. My wife and I have been hunting down Ghosttowns and old mines for over 20 years. Been to over 250 in Arizona alone. Been wanting to do this trip for years. I have been slowing down since I retired. I'll try to do this trip this week. Thanks for the boost.

  42. Jim Bean - Thanks for the comment Jim. I know what you been about slowing down. Boriana was great, but parts of the road were really bad. If you do go, you should have another vehicle with you, or be prepared to spend the night and/or hike out of the there if you break down. Good luck and have a great trip!

  43. Wow. I got up this morning and here I am back from Boriana. I pulled our ATV's up to the ranch and ask the lady there if I could leave my jeep on her place. She was very nice. We left there on the ATV's and that is one nasty road. Well worth it. Did you see all the goldfish? Hey thanks again for getting me up and getting me started again. Jim.

  44. Jim Bean - Wow! You didn't waste any time. I take that you live in that area? I'm glad you had two ATV's, that jeep beat the heck out of us.
    What goldfish? I hope I didn't go all that way and miss the best part!
    thanks for your comments Jim...
    There is a link on the upper right side of my blog page that will notify you by email when ever I post something.

  45. Wow just came across this while randomly surfing the web on my cell phone. I grew up in Kingman and have traveled the Borianna mine road a few times. Yes it is very rough and gets even worse further on. Amazing how when the mine played out they just up and left. I have explored the mine ruins-very dangerous unstable buildings and pits-really surprised the BLM hasn't cleaned up or fenced it off. There is a small spring that flows out from a crack in the rocks above the mine. The road continues up the Hualapai Mountains to the American Flag Mine. It is sealed off now but was open in the 1970's.

  46. More about Flag Mine as we called it, and at one time the riches gold mine in the country. There is a horizontal shaft that goes in for about 50 yards. The tunnel is waist deep in freezing spring water. One reason the mine was abandoned, they hit a spring and the mine kept filling up with water faster than they could pump it out. At the end of the tunnel there is a massive cave in of rocks and broken timbers. No way to get passed that. We did climb the hill above the mine and saw what appeared to be a large ant hole surrounded by a scraggly barb wire fence. Tying clothes line around our waist (safety first) we were barely able to squeeze through the ant hole and came upon a ladder. We climbed down the ladder and found ourselves in a tunnel with rail tracks running along it. My memory begins to fade at this point (this was some 35 years ago) but what I do remember is the ladder. It was around a hundred years old but was as strong and solid as the day it was made. The wood was smooth without any cracks or splinters. If no one has gotten to it, it may still be there today. I had many such adventures growing up in that area, and very fond memories.

  47. Matt Rounseville - These days, it seems that the BLM either doesn't have the time or money to keep up with this stuff. These buildings looked very unstable to me, so I stayed out of them. I knew about the American Flag Mine, but we were just about out of daylight. Maybe next time we'll continue on the Boriana road to the next mine and then maybe all the way over the mountains. It would be interesting to see if that "ant hole" and ladder are still in place. The tunnel with tracks must have been quite a sight. I saw on the topo map that there are several springs in the area. Where there are springs, there was usually some Indian presence. Are you aware of any rock art in the Boriana mine or Flag mine areas? Thanks again for the awesome comments and interesting information.

  48. the way to go to the borianas is on a atv or in utv been there many times

  49. My father was born in Kingman AZ and my grandfather worked at this mine. My father sent me this link of yours. Great pictures!

  50. By 1937y family was at the Boriana mine
    My dad lost all in depression and the first job he had after leaving Texas was at this mine. Three of us were born in the Kingman hospital. I was born there in 1939. We lived in what had been the old commissary store
    I have photos of my dad, uncle (visiting from Texas), two cousins and my sister mediately in front of mine entrance. We lived there from 1937-1943. My dad never took any assistance from anyone and we led a good life in spite of depression
    The route to the mine was always scary and difficult and my mom would exit car and walk periodically. I need to get back there.

  51. My family lived at the mine from 1937 to 1943. I was born in Kingman in 1939. We made it without foodstps, government handouts, liberals or anything except my dad and mom's hard work. We were poor but it did not matter. Us kids-4 of us-eventually went to UC Berkeley. I have some photos of my dad at mine at front entrance.

  52. Anonymous - I'm sure you are right, but it's a rough road no matter what you are driving.

    Anonymous - Thank you so much! I wish you hadn't posted anonymously, so I could send you an email.

    Tom - Thanks for this great comment. If you check back on this post, please send me an email, I'd like to ask you some questions. Question number one, would be to ask you if you could send me copies of the photos? I hope you see this!

    Grandnoodle - This is great! I'm assuming that you are Tom. Is that right! Again, I would love to see those old photos.


  54. Anonymous - Thanks for the great comment. That road is so rough, it will loosen the fillings in your teeth. Next time we go there, I want to go earlier in the day and have more time to poke around the area. Thanks again!

  55. HI Pat
    I bought a mining claim up above the Boraina Mine called Kings ransom Mine. Planning on going up there end of next month. Have you been up that far yet? There are 3 cabins up there on my claim. Didn't know if would have trouble getting to it.

  56. Alice Scott - I wish I could answer your question. I think your place is on the other side of the mountains, a bit closer to Kingman. I couldn't find the exact location of it. I wish I knew, because we'll be back up that way in March also and I'd love to check it out.

  57. We were at the mine today, 3.9.16. The road is not bad for a Jeep. Had lunch at the old corral and drove on to the mine. We go out every week to old mines and ghost towns.

  58. Hehe- was looking up mines around Vegas and came across my old blog friend Pat's info- hope all is well:) Ren

  59. Ren- Lady of the Arts - Hey You! So nice to see your name pop up. I'm glad to know that your are still out and about. I'm doing pretty darn good. Hope all is well for you and your family. Just in case you ever post again, I still have you on my dashboard. Take care!

  60. I love Boraina mine. Been there many times. Once many years ago in a jeep, and the last 6 times on a quad. I prefer going there on a quad. Did you check out Antler mine which is off Boraina mine rd?

  61. Unknown - I agree about the quad. I think it would have been an easier drive up there.
    We didn't know anything about the Antler mine, unless it is what is called the "Party" mine, and used by local teens to do whatever...
    Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! Come back anytime!


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