In The Desert
Iron Door Mine
Socorro Peak, Arizona, Lost Treasure
This whole story was given to me by George Campbell, now deceased. He was an old miner, prospector in the desert. He had (his wife Norma's now) over 50 claims in the Harquahala Mts. of Arizona near the town of Salome, Arizona. The town of Salome, Arizona has changed a lot since the last time we were there. This is one of the stories that George related to us about a mine with an Iron Door he'd found but never got to investigate. George was as truthful as they come. All the stories we looked into that he told us were exactly as he described them. I honestly don't think he knew how to lie or exaggerate. Now this will make some people mad, here's why ---
Do a search for the Iron Door Mine on Google and you'll find that a lot of people feel this mine was located (but never found) in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, Arizona. This story has been promoted by a person name Flint Carter who owns mineral rights in that area for 200 acres. Which is now for sale for 120 million dollars! What could his motive be for promoting this tale? Come on people, like we've always said just use your head and think about these things. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. There may have been Spanish there back in the day, but the Iron Door Mine? So where is the Iron Door Mine?
Here's a topo of the area, with Salome Road shown, and some other places of interest. There is a lot of gold bearing rock in the mountains here.
Not just a great story, but a real find could be made here!
Contact us via E-mail
Content including photographs are Copyright © 2013 - Present - Don & Linda Gilmore
Indian Gold in Salome can be found HERE
Before we get to it's "probable" location just let me say this. Many old stories of lost mines are twisted, exaggerated, and just plain lies. Look at the Earl Dorr Mine in Kokoweef, the Lost Dutchman mine in Apache Junction and lost Peg Leg gold find (we may do a story later on this one). Has anyone found anything in any of these places to keep you interested? Certainly not me. The other consideration you should take into account - back in the day of the Spanish they seldom made good accurate locations and often times lied about the locations so no one else would ever find them. Being off by 176 miles is a small adjustment for back then. It's like missing the street you wanted to find by 2 blocks today. All the mountain areas looked the same, and still do. Does this sound familiar? They didn't have GPS's back then. What about the story George told us? Here it is:
We spent time looking over George's claims with him and along the way he pointed out a wash that ran to the Northeast from the road that winds along the Southern end of the mountains. (See the topo map below). George spent years wandering in the mountains all around this area and to the south of here always looking for gold deposits. In this case he didn't find any deposits just an old arrastra and the steel round solid drum for it, and several mines. One of them was half buried and the Iron Door was laying in at an angle in the closed entrance. He really wanted us to go and find it. We went and looked once and I'm sure we were close, but we did not find it.
Now this area was mined by the Spanish, yet little is known about that mining era, at least here in this part of the Harquahala Mountains. George probably didn't think too much of it, especially if he couldn't find a gold vein there. "WARNING" George's wife Norma Reynolds still owns claims in this area, which may include the old Iron Door Mine. So ask around Salome to talk to Norma Campbell and ask for permission if you're not sure! By the way the old arrastra drum still had minute gold flecks embedded in the course steel, or iron drum.
I wish I had more info to add to this location, like a GPS track, but I don't. I do know it's there and very likely the real location of the old Spanish Iron Door Mine. I'd bet my life on anything George said as being the truth. Now just to further the information on the area, here's a few things you should know. George and his two sons worked their own claims right next to this area and we spent a week camped out in the desert with his sons working one of the claims. Actually I did the blasting on a cliff face and they ran the ore through an old ball mill. They did get a nice pouch of gold, and camping out with them in the mountains was a blast. This area has produced more gold than people know about. See the link below for information on this immediate area.
The area is a real nightmare of Teddybear Cholla's and even finding the old Spanish mule trail was hard, but we did find the trail. When you get to the right wash (see map below) you will have to climb up on the hillside to the Northwest. Once up on the hillside you can look down (not visible from below) and you'll see the old mule trail. It winds up onto the mountain traveling in a Northerly direction.
Here's where you'll find thousands of Teddybear Cholla's. Take a machete, you'll need it. Now at the top you'll come to a small drop off and you can see where the mules crossed it and made their way to the top of the mountain. Once there you'll see the tailings piles and mines that are virtually unknown today. This is near the top of the mountain. Keep reading below for more on this area.
Gold found in the area HERE
Harquahala Mts. Topography Map