In The Desert
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2014 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Black Warrior Mine
Utah Hills, Utah, Littlefield, Arizona
Getting there is part of the fun on this trip in the desert. The main road into this area is the old route 91 which for years was the only quick way to get into Utah from the south. Coming from Las Vegas or other points to the south you came up Rt. 91 as Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge was not yet built. Along the way, there were old gas stations and the main one here was at Castle Cliffs, Utah. See the photo below.
Photo courtesy of Washington County Historical Society
If you happen to be in Beaver Dam, Arizona getting lottery tickets then this is a neat way back to St. George with some great scenery along the way. Coming up old Hwy. 91 you can't miss the location of the old Castle Cliffs Gas Station.
Lead, Zinc, Silver, Mines
The first thing we're going to ask is this -- what kind of mines were they? There are a lot of tunnels, adits, and shafts in the mountains here with pretty scenery and great exploring trails. Continuing up the road a short distance from Castle Cliffs you'll come to the turn off for the Black Warrior Mine on the east side of Rt. 91. See the map above or download the GPS Track HERE
Just as you get to the mountains and the Castle Cliffs area you'll see this cave entrance. Just uphill from this cave is where the old "gas station" was located. Back in the day they sold gas and mostly water at the station. At a dollar a gallon this was their big money maker. Either you needed it or your vehicle did after the long drive across the desert. The vehicle garage had a bad reputation for ripping people off too.
This cave is only about 25 feet deep and the only interesting thing about it is the Pack Rat nest in the very back, if that's what it was? Across the road on the west side there are a couple of old foundations that are the remains of old cabins for overnight stays, if you broke down here.
We ran into a father and son that were exploring the area on their trail bikes. The son, Jackson, was nice enough to take one of our cameras up this steep, loose, tailings pile to the mine and photograph some of the mine for us. He did an excellent job! Here's Jackson at the top of the tailings pile.
This tailings pile has washed down the hill here and someday will probably block this old mining road. It's already got quite a slope to the road here. Here's two trail bikes we saw on the road.
The road into the mines is in pretty good shape most of the way. There are a couple of spots that were washed out a little and in the future could become a problem, so use your best judgement when traveling in the mountains here.
On the way in to the Black Warrior Mine you will see a few old foundations along the road. There are turn-offs to other mines in this part of the Utah Hills. Getting to the Black Warrior mine is a pretty steep hike.
On the right hand side of the road is a short pull-off and you'll see this metal structure. It was fenced in and we didn't try to get to it. So if you know what this is, let us know?
On the way in you'll see this rather large tailings pile that is part of the Black Warrior Mine. There are two Black Warrior Mine adits marked on the topo maps. However there are many more in the area. Now whether or not they are part of that mine is unknown. See the TOPO HERE
We started up this old road bed only to find that it was completely washed out and not passable. This road used to go up to the main mine entrance of the Black Warrior Mine.
Looking off to the north from the tailings pile you'll see these tailings and if you looked at the "topo here" link above then you'd see that there are 3 adits up there which may or may not be part of the Black Warrior Mine. Another "adit" (tunnel) shown on the linked topo above is what we found below.
This may not be part of the Black Warrior Mine as there are many adits and shafts in this area. None are marked. None are closed that we saw. So be careful. This looks like a fun mine to explore though.
There are other mines, like the Apex Mine that are in this area and there are a lot more roads to explore here. This would probably make a good all-day adventure for off-roaders or hikers. And there is a lot of historic stuff here also.