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Desert Flower Mine – Newfoundland Mountains – Utah
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Overview
Location

Newfoundland Mountains – Utah West Desert

Sights

Newfoundland Mountains, Old mining artifacts, Mines

Distance

About 1 mile round trip

Parking Lot Elevation

5051 ft

Summit Elevation

5977 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

926 ft

Time Required

1+ day

Pets

Allowed

Fees

None

Water Info

Depending on what you are doing and how long you are staying I would recommend bringing 3 liters of water or more. There are no water sources in the mountains and you are far away from the nearest town.

Best Season

Spring, fall

Hours

Open year round

Sun Exposure

Shade is minimal

Trail Condition

Trail is good but there are tons of sage brush along the trails so if you plan on bringing a larger truck it will get scratched up.

Restrooms

None

Visitor Center

None

Camping

Allowed

Food

Bring meals and snacks as needed

Equipment

Flashlights, good hiking shoes, cameras, backpack for food and water, extra fuel, tire air pump, spare tire, some kind of GPS.

On our trip out here we didn’t see anyone else.  This area is desolate yet peaceful.  We saw trains go by to the north but no vehicles on any of the roads out here.  However, surprisingly, I still had decent cell service (AT&T).  

In the mining areas there are tons of old artifacts including pipes, telephone wires, ore carts, timbers, a dump truck, other vehicles and more.

GPS Coordinates

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The Trail:

Here is what I think to be the one of the offices of the mining area

Here is what I think to be the one of the offices of the mining area

Please note that this Trek is for our visit to the East side of the Newfoundland Mountains including several mining areas.  We also visited the other side of the Newfoundland Mountains so check out the Boston Terrace Trek.

The trek out here took us about 4 hours ONE WAY.  So be prepared to spend a full day or camp out here.

Before coming to the Newfoundland Mountains we scoured Google Earth and other places for information regarding mines and other cool things in the area.  We found pictures of old trams, cable systems, old dump trucks and more.  So naturally, this area appealed to us and is worth a visit.

We camped the night before just below the opening of Dells Canyon on the east side of the Newfoundland Mountains.

Our camping site was located near tons of old mining artifacts including vehicles, pipes, tramways and more.  I was shocked by how much old mining “junk” there was still laying around.  Even towards the bottom of the canyon there are lots of pipes and timbers scattered everywhere.

Camping just below the entrance to the canyon

Camping just below the entrance to the canyon

To climb to the top where the actual mines are located you need to find the trail which is well trodden – it is pretty easy to see.  The trail basically starts off next to an old building (not sure what it was used for).

Newfoundland Mountains

The structure which is pictured above was probably part of the gravity tram system.

Go up the trail and you will follow the dry creek bed for a little ways.

Part of an ore chute perhaps

Part of an ore chute perhaps

The trail is easy to see and follow and you will see many cool things such as this ore chute which is being used now as stairs.  Although the trail is steep and rises quickly to the top it really won’t take you more than an hour to climb to the Desert Flower mine entrance.

The old engine winch is still inside with cable wrapped up in it

The old engine winch is still inside with cable wrapped up in it

Here is the first substantial mining structure you will come to that is in the canyon.  You will see an old engine winch on the bottom of this structure and there is still a ton of cable inside of it.

Newfoundland Mountains

You will notice that there are cables running all over the canyon and some are even still connected. The trail then cuts to the left side of the canyon and you will see a large ore chute still intact.

By the way, the right fork didn’t really lead anywhere too interesting.

Newfoundland Mountains

The mostly intact ore chute

The mostly intact ore chute

From the Engine Winch look directly to the south and you will see the ore chute.  This ore chute is an amazing structure with all the cables and most of the supports still connected.

Newfoundland Mountains

Newfoundland Mountains

Cross over to the south side of the canyon and you will come to the first mine opening which I labeled the Wooden Adit which is located just below the ore chute.

Newfoundland Mountains

This is a very rugged and wild place.  Just looking at the mountains and valleys you can tell that the miners struggled tremendously to bring all this equipment to the top of the mountain.

Wooden Adit. You can still go inside but it doesn't go in much

Wooden Adit. You can still go inside but it doesn’t go in much

This is the Wooden Adit.  It is mostly caved and roughly goes in about 45 feet or so.  The reason why this is an interesting location is that there are timber workings that seem to be in place to protect miners from collapses.  I am more curious as to why the miners built such an extensive operation in this small adit which only goes in a little ways.

We crawled inside and checked it out but we moved on to check out the ore chute and then carried on up the canyon.

Here you can see part of the tram system

Here you can see part of the tram system

The climb gets really steep but the trail is still clear.  Well actually there are several trails to choose from.  We stayed mostly on the southern edge of the dry creek and always climbing up.

Newfoundland Mountains

From the Ore Chute you will see a very long cable that goes to just about the top of the canyon.  This is where you will want to go.  I was fascinated all the way up as there are still pipes, boilers and cables all over the place – we were literally tripping over relics the entire hike!

Newfoundland Mountains

You will also see a small tailings pile located at the top of the cable wire.

Newfoundland Mountains

Another winch for the cables

Another winch for the gravity tram

Once near the top you will see another winch for the pulley system and a wooden structure. It is incredible how much time, energy and money was used for this operation.  It must have been MASSIVE back in the day!  There are ore cart tracks and other interesting artifacts near the entrance too.

Newfoundland Mountains

Newfoundland Mountains

Newfoundland Mountains

Newfoundland Mountains

The views from the mine are incredible.  You can see the Wasatch Mountains all the way back to Salt Lake City and Ogden on a clear day.

From here the mine opening is about 50 feet to the north.

Top of the mine opening

Desert Flower Mine

Here is the main entrance to the Desert Flower Mine.  It is actually very disappointing as you would imagine with all the tram and pulley systems and all the timbers that were used for the mine that it would go in several thousand feet, but sadly it does not.

The mine opens up into a room about 25 feet tall and about as many feet wide.  There are rat droppings and bat guano all over the place.

The large cavern narrows down to a path to the left that goes a little ways and stops. The right tunnel which slopes down, is completely caved about 20 feet down.

We imagine that this mine is much more extensive but the miners must have caved in the more interesting parts of the mine before leaving the area.

Inside the short shaft

Inside the short tunnel in Desert Flower

Here is a picture of the left tunnel of the mine

Adit #2

Adit #2

Adit #2

There are two more adits up towards the top of the canyon just above the main mine entrance.  I posted pictures for your reference here.  They are not interesting and only go in about 15 feet and 20 feet respectively.

Didn't go in much either

Adit #3 Didn’t go in much either

The Return:

Head back down towards the canyon.


Personal Thoughts:

The Newfoundland Mountains have dozens of mines to discover and explore!  Some are as new as 50 years ago, while others may go back much further.  The area that we visited is very interesting and rewarding.  There are tons of artifacts and mining equipment in the area that it makes you wonder why the miners would go to such great lengths to build such an incredible and extensive operation and then just leave it all behind.

This place is extremely desolate!  It is very lonely out there but I look at it as a peaceful place away from the city and busyness.  It is great to see the amazing mountains and scenery that people have no idea exists out in the West Desert.

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Ore chute in the Newfoundland Mountains:

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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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2 Comments on "Desert Flower Mine – Newfoundland Mountains – Utah"

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Guy Gordon Young
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This has to be one of the best sites on old mines I have seen. You have done a very outstanding job. I just wish I had a way of book marking so I could come back.