NAME: Granite Gap
COUNTY: Hidalgo
CLIMATE: Mild winter; hot, hot summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Year round; best fall, winter, spring
COMMENTS: Fee mineral and treasure hunting site, and underground mine tours open by appt. Miles of underground tunnels. Acres of rock mine camp ruins, dumps and debris. Modern travelers can see this interesting area by taking Exit 5 off I-10 and following U.S. 80 south 11 miles through Granite Gap. The scenery is spectacular with rock formations similar to the famous Texas Canyon. You can take photos from the highway, but collecting, camping etc. is by permit only: call 505-557-2367 or 505-495-5012 or write Granite Gap Mine, P.O. Box 372 Rodeo, NM 88056 for free brochure. (Granite Gap is a primitive site, with no power, phone, or water.) The property changed hands in 2006 and the new owner does not permit
access. Most mine openings have been gated by the Bureau of Mines.
REMAINS: Primarily a "walled" tent town. Foundations of small rock, adobe, and cave dwellings remain.
After 1876 when the Chiricahua Apache Reservation was dissolved, anglo and Mexican settlers came to this area, although Indian raids, bandits, and cattle rustling still persisted. In 1879 mining claims were recorded and work began. Water was hauled on wagons, in wooden barrels from the Gus Chenowth homestead at San Simon Cienega, three miles south of Granite Gap. Two-hundred people may have lived here at the height of production in the early 1890s. Silver, lead, zinc, and copper were mined here. The outlaw John Ringo traveled through Granite Gap often by way of Granite Gap Pass or nearby Cowboy Pass Trail. Ringo became interested in the mining activity and eventually in 1879 won two claims at Granite Gap in a card game. At one point there was a school and a deputy sheriff in residence. Ore shipments continued as late as 1926. This townsite is in the Peloncillo Mountains. There are several passes through this dry, rough range of mountains and one of the least publicized is Granite Gap, although in frontier days, this area was probably used more than any pass. Submitted by: Laura Leveque