Once again I was pouring over some maps and saw something that piqued my interest: “Mine Tunnel” written above a little adit symbol, and well off the beaten path…
Not far beyond the long, low bridge spanning the Carbon River at the same named entrance to Mt.Rainier, there is a logging road branching westward just before you reach a huge shooting quarry. This is the de facto trailhead for this trip.
Logging roads zigzag Burnt Mountain, if you follow the correct combination (think up and east), it’ll put you on the highest, furthest eastward landing. From here it’s offtrail to the ridge.
You may occasionally see flags, but it’s pretty much game trails through trees and brush. A couple wide open areas of scree/talus are hidden in the trees and can make a good place to ascend.
There are also a few rock outctops hidden on the hillside that you’ll probably want to be avoiding.
Once atop the ridge I started coming down broken snow on the other side via an easy contour clearly visible on the map.
A tea stained mountain pond (Burnt Mountain Pond?) lies at the base of the contour as does another logging road.
Other amenities include; the remains of some aluminum lawn furniture, pieces of a TV and a fire ring.
From this small camp it’s a little less than three and a half miles to “Mine Tunnel” Oh Joy!
Again on logging roads, the hiking is non technical but you’ll really want a map out here. It’s a maze!
Much of my walk was amongst low clouds this time around, but I got a clear view to Tacoma at one point, and there were some interesting basalt columns in a roadside quarry.
Eventually a rather large hill appeared a distance away, “Mine Tunnel Hill” presumably.
Before reaching the hill, the correct way makes a hairpin turn and is marked by an orange gate. Shortly thereafter the road crosses a railroad flatcar bridge spanning a fork of Gale Creek.
Just up ahead was the site. I won’t lie, my expectations were low. I figured there probably wouldn’t be anything at all, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was in fact a hole in the ground!
Right along the road, half covered in crap is a little adit, pretty much exactly where the map said it’d be. It’s not too deep, maybe ten feet if you really tried to stretch it.
Peering into its depths I could see such historic artifacts as; a few discard plastic bottles and a half buried piece of wood.
“Well that was that, time to walk my ass back up the hill!”
THE SHORT VERSION
- Approx 7.5mi; 6.5 mi on logging roads, 1 mi off trail (One way)
- Map or navigational device is a must.
- As a historic mining site, probably not worth the time to all but the most devout. Good destination for wandering esoteric types.
On the way up the roads on the south side of Burnt Mountain I ran into a fella up at the landing before jumping offtrail.
He told me about other trails in the area and we both agreed how strange it was to see another person on Burnt Mountain.
The fellow wanderer also mentioned that the logging roads on the north side are sometimes accessible from Wilkeson with a high clearance vehicle… So if you’re interested in a logging-road road-trip, there’s an idea for ya.
There’s a nearby area on Gale Creek marked “falls”. If for some reason I’m ever out here again, I’d probably check it out.
A WORD ABOUT MINE SAFETY
Mines and mining ruins are inherently dangerous and should NOT be entered.
¡STAY OUT, STAY ALIVE! & Happy Trails!