William “Burro” H. Schmidt began gold mining in the area in 1906. Rather than haul his ore over the steep hill to the smelter in Mojave he decided to dig a 1/2 mile long tunnel. Only problem was he dug it by hand and it took him 38 years, he started in 1906.

The ruins of his camp and the tunnel itself are now a frequented desert destination for off roaders and four wheelers, with even a photo rich review on yelp. Like many mines, the ownership is now in dispute and it is unclear if the land is BLM or private. USGS Historic Topo shows a few more mines and ruins sprinkled sparsely throughout the area.

We visited the tunnel and the camp in Nov 2014. We didnt make it all the way out the other end for the view. It was getting dark and very windy inside the tunnel. Half way though the tunnel it felt like something out of a dream, endless tunnel in both directions!

I’m not sure about the status of Burro Scmidt’s actual mines themselves, only his ore tunnel. If you know comment below!

  • JB Bergmann

    Rating: 4 / 5

    The history is what makes it cool. Safe, easy to get to tunnel with real ore cart tracks and an abandoned cabin. Perfect for novice explorers. Easy off-roading with a Subaru or other high clearance all wheel drive vehicle.

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