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Bullion Canyon - Canyon of Gold Driving Tour

Cross the veil of time and discover the secrets of a canyon riddled with gold and the saga of men who sought her riches.
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 2.7 miles
Duration: 1-3 hours
Family Friendly

Overview :  Cross the veil of time and discover the secrets of a canyon riddled with gold and the saga of men who sought her riches.

Since the... more »

Tips:  The road in Bullion Canyon is a gravel/dirt road that is graded regularly. However, snow and ice make the road impassable.

4-wheelers... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Trailhead

At this point, set your odometer to "0". Stop 1 is 0.6 miles past the trailhead.

2. Toll Road

Successful mining companies required transportation systems that allowed supplies, industrial equipment and building materials to be brought in while providing access for its workers and routes to remove gold, silver and lead. Roads were the life-lines to Virginia, Bullion and Webster cities, the three earliest communities of the canyon.

... More

3. Corral

In the late 1800's, the flat open area on the right side of the road (north) was occupied by corrals that probably stabled a small number of mules belonging to the Dalton Mill. Located about a mile up the road, the mill used mules to pull ore cars from mines still further up the canyon. Although the sleepers and rails have long since been removed,... More

4. Witt Tate Mine

The log buildings on both sides of the road were built by a prospector named Witt Tate sometime around 1920. Tate constructed the cabin and out-buildings to support his mining operation in the rocky ledges on the north side of the canyon.

Witt sold the mine several times and in 1948, he sold the property to the Bullion Monarch. When the... More

5. Cabin

6. Dalton Mill and Boardinghouse

The clearing on the right side of the road (north) is where the main boardinghouse stood. Little remains of the log building except for a few scattered artifacts. The clientele of the boardinghouse were mostly single men who sought employment in the gold fields. Around 1920, the cost of staying in an accommodation like this could have been as high... More

7. Arrastra

From the traffic turnout, a narrow trail leads down the bank towards the stream. On the very edge of the creek and partially in the water is a large block of stone about 10 feet long. A circular depression 34 inches in diameter has been cut into the top of the stone.

According to local lore, the first American miners to enter Bullion Canyon in... More

8. Bullion City Limits

According to Piute County Court documents, Bullion City may have been initially established at the mouth of Bullion Canyon near the Forest Service boundary. At some point, Bullion City was moved up the canyon. This move may have coincided with the reorganization of the Ohio Mining District in 1872. At this stop, you can look across the bridge and ... More

9. Bridge

10. Cabin

11. Cabin

12. Bullion City Meetinghouse

In front of you on the right side of the road (north) are the charred remains of a log cabin that served as Bullion City's meetinghouse.

In the spring of 1994, the building was found to have burned to the ground. Evidence found in the ashes suggest that the burning of the cabin was person-caused either by intention or carelessness.

PLEASE ... More

13. Webster City

14. Bully Boy Mill

One of the most impressive reminders of the vitality and industry that once thrived in Bullion City is the Bully Boy Mill. Constructed in 1922, the mill received ore from the Bully Boy adits and The Wedge, Dalton, Great Western, Deseret, Cascade, Shamrock and Morning Star mines. The ruins of the mill measure over 238 feet long and 45 feet wide.
... More

15. Bully Boy Mill Silo

16. Bully Boy Stamp Mill

17. Cabin

18. Cabin

19. Cabin

20. Miner's Park and Picnic Area

The Miners' Park, built by Forest Service volunteers, was the inspiration of Rell Fredericks, a local miner who has since passed on to higher prospects. His trail begins in front of the wooden mine car and continues to your right where it climbs into the trees. For 1/4 mile, the trail will take you to 16 displays of mining equipment, reconstructed... More

21. Cabin

22. Cabin

23. Ho for Bullion Canyon!

Paint your wagon and come along!

When American miners first traced placer gold up a seemingly untouched creek in Bullion Canyon, they were surprised to discover a crude ore crushing device – called an arrastra – and piles of ore. Who could have left this early artifact of mining? Perhaps gold hungry Conquistadores, riding north out of New Spain... More

24. Carving Roads into the Wilderness

With the discovery of gold in the 1860s, roads had to be built to the diggings in Bullion Canyon. This implement is an early road grader called a "Fresno." It was pulled by a team of horses and was operated by two people. Using the handles at the rear of the grader, the operators would tilt it up at a scraping angle to the road.

25. Water for the Mills

Pressurized water was used by the stamp mills in the canyon to wash and separate gold ore from dirt and debris. Originally, a 24" wooden pipe like this smaller pipe carried water from Bullion Falls above you to the Bully Boy Mill just below you. Note the large iron hooks on either side of the pipe that anchored the original pipe to the ground.

26. Power from Water

In the mines and mills of the canyon, piped water was converted to steam in boilers like the one before you. Steam was used to power pistons which ran the equipment necessary to ventilate mines and move, crush, separate and mill gold ore. This boiler, weighing more than 4 tons, was pulled by a team of 4 to 6 horses.

27. Moving the Ore

On your right is a stone boat. Pulled by a team of horses, boats hauled hundreds of pounds of gold ore over bone-jarring trails. Stone boads were used extensively in Bullion Canyon before the completion of the area's road system.

On your left is an early car (ca. 1860s) which was used to truck ore from the mines. Built to run on 18 gauge... More

28. This Skip Can Dump!

This tupe of ore car is called a skip. It runs in a mine shaft on a track inclined upward 30 to 60 degrees. In the early days, a horse or a hoistman winched the car up the shaft.

Notice that the back wheels or "truck" are set wider than the front wheels. At the top of the shaft, the truck goes up a separate, elevated track. The elevated track... More

29. The Diggings

Picture yourself inside a very long and dark mine "tunnel" called an adit. For 12 to 14 hours a dary you would swing a sledge hammer or a pick against solid rock. If you couldn't afford a mule or horse, you loaded your cars with hundreds of pounds of ore and then pushed them by hand to the entrance of the adit. You then transferred the ore, again ... More

30. Taming the Rock

These drills were used to create pockets for sticks of dynamite which would blast tunnels through solid rock. All but two of the drills were used by hand and would have been hit repeatedly with a heavy sledge hammer. The large drill sticking out of the rock is a later type of drill (ca. 1910) powered by compressed air.

31. Blast it to Smithereens!

Adits are rarely "dug" but are frequently created with explosives. Explosions can't be set haphazardly; they're carefully channeled into a rockface by placing dynamite in drilled blast holes.

This equipment seved as both mount and water supply for an air-powered drill. The bar supported the drill while the tank constantly bathed the drill... More

32. New Mining Technology

By the turn-of-the-century, new technology made life easier and more efficient for the miner. Like the compressed air drill back at the adit, ore cars were now pulled by air-powered locomotives. A work car called a mucker even loaded ore into trailing cars with a large motorized scoop. In front of you are a mucker and a car used in the Deer Trail ... More

33. Sharp Tools for Light Work

A self-contained hardware stone, called a "forge", sits before you! Especially in the older mines, miners were always at their forges sharpening and tempering red hot drill bits and hand tools. Because hardware stores were many miles away, the miner's forge was also used to build items such as hinges, pintels and nails and to fashion horse and... More

34. Dalton Cabin

Was this cabin, called the Dalton Cabin by local folks, really built by the famous Dalton Gang? Are those bullet holes around the east-facing windows? What if we told you a Piute County Sherrif's posse made those holes in 1870 then they trapped the gang inside? Would you believe it if we said that a nine day siege by the posse killed four of the... More

35. Mine Cherries?

To load a whole train in a narrow space early 20th century miners used a "Cherry Picker" like this one. These contraptions would lift empty cars in the air and swing them into place behind a mucker working the rockface. When a car was filled, it was scooted backwards and another empty car was swung into place. Locomotives, also called motors,... More

36. Rainbows Aren't Always Golden

Mining in Bullion Canyon was a back-breaking job whose success or failure rested within the fickle heart of Chance. Hardships were many, stakes were hard to get, living conditions were sub-standard and sometimes a vein just played out. In fact, more men were made poor by mining than rich. In front of you is a rectangular depression - the... More

37. A Hardrock Periscope

Sometimes the only difference between a miner who made money and one who went broke was an ability to successfully navigate a vein of ore as it snaked through a mountain. Veins of gold can be followed by continually testing for the presence and percentage of gold in mined ore.

This piece of equipment is a steam-powered ore crusher used to... More

38. Mining Has Been Around For A Very Long Time

Mining has bee taking place here in Bullion Canyon for over 300 years. Mining has always been very important to the human race. Can you imagine your world without the products of mining? We would have no cars, trucks or trains (iron), airplanes (aluminum), satellites (gold), medicines and vitamins (lithium, magnesium), critical seasonings (salt)... More

39. Create a Future for Our Past

We hope you have gained an insight into early mining techniques and the role of mining in the history of Bullion Canyon. But remember - the sights, sounds, and smells of this canyon's gold camps are gone forever. However, you can help to create a future for the mine bulidings and artifacts that still cling to life all around you. Please report any... More