SPRUCE MOUNTAIN

NAME: Spruce Mountain
COUNTY: Elko
ROADS: 2WD
GRID: 1
CLIMATE: Pleasant summer, heavy snow in winter.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Summer, autumn.

COMMENTS: Worth visiting the area.
REMAINS: Many mines. UPDATE: While it's technically accurate that Spruce Mountain can be approached by 2WD vehicle, after the first kiosk it's foot, mountain bike, horseback or ATV only. Dave Tilger who works at Wright Motors in Elko (ATV dealer) maintains the main roads over the mountain on behalf of the Gold Country ATV Club, but the mountain itself is now under BLM jurisdiction. There are now Carsonite signs (narrow flimsy trail markers) along the designated roads and kiosks are various locations at the base of the mountain. The most easily accessible road is from US 93 south of Wells, Nevada.

The BLM isn't permitted to actively advertise the site, though, because of a dispute by the Nevada Department of wildlife as to whether recreation on the mountain will have an impact on wintering deer and elk. For the time being, people can still recreate there, so I'd advise people to visit the site while they can.

Signs by BLM leading onto the area now indicate 4WD, ATV, dirt bike (and of course mountain bike, foot and horse) are permitted. The 4WD is indicated by a Jeep. Although many use Jeeps there, a high clearance 4WD truck will do for the mines around the main routes. Aug. 21, 2009, I went up there with a friend in his new Toyota F-J and it did well. A high clearance with 2WD might be able to do it if the driver was skilled, but I wouldn't chance it. The kiosks are regularly stocked with full color maps of the mountain and the numbered marker trails. Leona Rodreick, the public info officer for the BLM in Elko, said their rec people are trying to complete a more inclusive rec plan for the mountain.

Those who stay on main roads can see Sprucemont, Monarch, Latham, Badger, Black Forest and Jasper mine sites to name a few. Many dumps and old portals can be seen high on the hills with no visible way to get to them. Many are still technically private, but viewing from the roads that go through them is permitted. Please don't remove items as souvenirs.

The portal to the upper shaft of the Black Forest mine has caved in in the last two years since I've been there prior to the Aug. 21, 2009, visit. It seems lots of wood framing from the entry or portal to the Badger mine has been removed, leaving the frame that's flush with the hillside. The Badger lead mine is the mine where the yellow Caterpillar compressor is parked. Monarch still seems to be mostly intact, and is probably the best mine site on the whole mountain. - Jared DuBach

The history of Spruce Mountain is the history of an area and eleven communities located in southern Elko County. Its history begins in 1869 with the discovery of lead-silver ore that created a small rush of prospectors and investors. In less than three months, three new mines began production and by 1870 close to 100 miners were working claims from the western to the eastern slopes of Spruce Mountain. In 1871, three separate mining districts were organized and were later consolidated into one district called the Spruce Mountain Mining District. As time passed additional camps were formed along the slopes of Spruce Mountain and then into districts and then into communities with each having its own identity and history. Spruce Mountain mines produced every year to 1952 when serious mining came to and end. Spruce Mountain’s best year was 1945. During that year the mines produced nearly $300,000 worth of ore. From 1944 to 1948 the figure was close to $900,000. But by 1947 the ore began to decrease in value and the end was somewhat in sight. Since 1961 no production has taken place on Spruce Mountain. It is the best ghost town in Elko County and has much to offer visitors. Besides the buildings and townsites, there are a multitude of mines, head frames, ore chutes, and dumps where the old and the new exist side by side.

 

Submitted by: HBC

 


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


Spruce Mountain
Courtesy Vincent Gaisford


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