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Buckmaster Mines – San Rafael Swell Utah

San Rafael Swell, near Green River, Utah


Many mines, adits, shafts and artifacts

Parking Lot Elevation

4273 ft





Water Info

Bring your own water

Best Season

Spring, fall

Sun Exposure

Very little shade out here

Trail Condition

Good dirt road




Yes. You are free to camp on BLM land.


Bring all your own food. Green River has restaurants and a market.

Family Friendly?

Yes, as long as no one goes inside of the mines.

GPS Coordinates

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Driving Directions

The road leading to the mines is just a graded dirt road.  You could easily drive on it with a low clearance vehicle.

The Trail:

The Buckmaster is a large group of adits, shafts and prospects that dot the desert landscape.  Some are very small and some are very large, worthy of a return trip.  Trevor and I set out on a day adventure to see what we could discover.  Not knowing beforehand the condition of these mines we figured we would at least find some mine artifacts and tailings.  We were surprised to find a huge complex of tunnels that probably intersect with other mines in the area.

There aren’t any signs or posts that say the mines are on private land but we highly recommend you don’t enter or come near these adits and shafts – do so at your own risk.  Many of these mines are uranium mines with bad smelling air coming from the portals which could be poisonous.  Please be careful.

We didn’t go too far inside as we were leery of the bad smelling gas.  Not too mention we were ill prepared so we just peeked inside and moved on.

One of the mines was HUGE!  We noticed all the tire tracks inside and the elaborate system of cables and air tubes weaving inside the tunnels.  It would be incredibly easy to get lost in this one.


Some of the mines we found were wide open and a few were completely sealed.  Artifacts including bottles, pieces of machinery and cans were littered all over the place.  You can drive very close to many of these mines if you wish.  We typically stuck to the main dirt road, parked and then hiked the short distances to the mines.

Some of the deeper shafts had fencing around them.  The deepest one we found was probably over 100 feet deep but we didn’t check out all of them so there might be deeper.

I read online that this place was once bouncing with mine activity and there is clear evidence of this with all the tailings, buildings and adits everywhere.  It would be amazing to see this place when it was active.  You could almost imagine busy mining activity all over the hills.  I would love to come back and explore more!

We took a turn to a hilltop where we could see the entire swell from a distance.  By this time it was sunset and the colors in the sky were incredible!

The Return:

Head back the same way you came in.

Personal Thoughts:

I really enjoyed this area!  I loved exploring the mines and seeing all the cool mine junk laying around.  A return trip is already in the making!

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The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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