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El Dorado Mine Willard Utah
2
Overview
Location

Above Willard Utah

Sights

2 large mine shafts, several mine prospects, mining tram, boarding house, lots of equipment

Distance

Less than a mile from the trail head

Parking Lot Elevation

9,402

Summit Elevation

8,358

Elevation Gain/Loss

1,044

Time Required

3+ Hours

Pets

No

Fees

None

Water Info

Bring 2 liters of water

Best Season

Summer, Early Fall

Hours

Open year round

Sun Exposure

Shade is minimal

Trail Condition

Very loose, steep, and rough

Restrooms

None

Visitor Center

None

Camping

Yes

Food

Bring snacks and meals as needed

Equipment

Plenty of flashlights, and extra batteries for each one if you are planning on going in the mines. Grubby clothes. Helmet.

GPS Coordinates

Trailhead: 41°23’27.80″N, 111°59’10.19″W

Mine:
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Trailhead:

Driving Directions


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The Trail: 

You park at the top of Inspiration Point. There are really cool views of Willard Peak from here, although it was cloudy the day we were there.

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From the parking lot you hike south. After about 400 yards there will be a split in the trail and you want to stay right. Follow the trail until you are directly up from the mine. You will need GPS as it would be very dangerous to try and get down the mountain without it. The hike is VERY strenuous. It goes straight down and then you have to go straight back up. It is either very rocky climbing or trying to walk up very loose, steep gravel. From the trail you want to head straight down directly to the mine. Take your time. It is very tiring and stressful. It still amazes me that they were able to mine in this location. The miners had come from below on a supposed donkey trail I never could find as the whole area is surrounded by vertical cliffs. Here are a couple shots of us on the “trail.” As you can see its basically just rock cliffs.

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Once you traverse down to the mine you will see the boarding house. Its a really cool stone 3 room house.

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Here is what remains of the blacksmith shop.

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Here is the view from the cabin. It would make mining seem a little easier waking up to it every day.

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The mine used a tram system that went all the way down to Willard. The top tram wheel was mostly buried but you could still see how big it was. If dug up it would be at least 5 feet wide.

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You can still see the tram supports intact going down the mountain. They must have been built very sturdy as they were abandoned in 1905.

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One of the two main tunnels was buried to the point that you couldn’t crawl in without digging it out and I hadn’t brought a shovel to do so. This one I have found through research is significantly larger than the other.

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The second one was tight but still fairly easy to crawl through.

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Here is the entrance from inside the mine.

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Silver, and lead were the minerals mined in this mine. There was no gold despite the name given to the mine. This mine is very muddy. It was also very gross mud. It took three days to get the orange off any skin it touched.

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On the flip side the colors made it very cool to see.

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There is a side tunnel to the left that ends in a vertical shaft full of water.

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The main tunnel goes back and down for about 100 yards and then encounters another shaft.

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Be very very careful going down towards the shaft. The mud is very slick and you could easily fall down the shaft and the mud would make it impossible to get out again without gear. I could not go any further. To do so would require that you drill bolts in the wall and rappel down the shaft. I through rocks and it went down a ways. You could also here a constant source of running and dripping water down below. I do not know how much further it was mined. As we came out of the mine there was a pretty serious rain downpour going on that had made four waterfalls come down the cliffs around us that were not there when we went in. It made the trek back up the mountain harder but was very cool to see. The cell phone camera couldn’t really do it justice but here is a picture.

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The Return:

Return the same way you came and again be very careful choosing a route back up. A fall here would not end pretty.


Personal Thoughts:

I thought this was a very worthwhile trip. I did not get to see as much mine as I would have liked since I didn’t have a shovel to dig up one tunnel a bit or the climbing gear to climb down the other but I still thought it was very cool to see the history and contemplate the life these old miners must have had in the very early 1900’s.

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Ratings (out of 10)
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User Rating
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Difficulty
5.0
5.6
Technicality
9.0
Enjoyment
6.0
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.

6.4
Trek Planner Rating
5.6
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About The Author
Josh1990
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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2 Comments on "El Dorado Mine Willard Utah"

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Chris Hufstetler
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I just did this mine this week and did a trip report here: http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4363 The Upper Entrance has a strong smell of Sulfur that can be smelled about 20 yards away from the entrance down wind. Also the Upper Entrance wood beams are on the verge of collapsing in the near future so I recommend taking extreme caution when entering it. Also we dug out the second lower entrance to the point where we could peek in with a flashlight and it is full of water and muck at least knee deep. Would need waders and more rope with anchor… Read more »
Josh Oyler
Guest

Nice! I’m glad yall tried it. Great report! It was so tempting to try and go further when I went but just not worth it without a lot of gear. It was still awesome just seeing the history. I still don’t know how there was a horse trail to that spot

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