Seattle, WA: Mineral City

Take a walk though Washington's mining and logging history by exploring the area once known as Mineral City on this 15-mile out-and-back.
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Take a walk though Washington's mining and logging history by exploring the area once known as Mineral City on this 15-mile out-and-back.

It’s not clear exactly when Mineral City came into existence. It began as a collection of mining claims sometime in the 1870s. Before it was known as Mineral City, the mining camp was called Silver City, which is listed as existing as far back as 1880. Today, one can hike to the town site along the same road, which is largely still intact. 

The trail begins where the road ends at a washout and is heavily marked; more than once the trail returns to sections of asphalt that are still intact. At 2.8 miles turn left, crossing a bridge over the North Fork Skykomish River, then veer right onto an unsigned road. After another mile, turn left at a fork in the road at a rocky barricade. Ignore the road heading east and make an easy scramble over the barricade, then navigate a large washout, now heading up Silver Creek. The road is fairly easy to follow after this point, though a few drainages have lost their bridges, making for several more short scrambles. 

Over the next few miles, cross a number of large bridges built to hold fully loaded logging rigs. Waterfalls are abundant as creeks and streams filter down from the hills above. Pass several adits—horizontal mines cut straight back into the rock—as well as a number of mining claims, a crumbling bus and large cabin. At 7.5 miles reach the outskirts of the town site, marked by the words “Mineral City” chain-sawed into a log, where little remains. A tree with the word “Mill” carved into it marks the location of the Mineral City mill. From here, you can catch glimpses of Sheep Gap Mountain and Silver Tip Peak to the north and Hubbart Peak to the east. Crested Butte is to the northwest.

Mapped by Nathan & Jeremy Barnes Hiking With My Brother

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 12.2

Waypoints

MIN001

Location: 47.863511, -121.482266

Drive to the road closure point on the Index Galena Road. Park and start following a boot path up the bank on the right.

MIN002

Location: 47.865043, -121.476862

Trail returns to paved road.

MIN003

Location: 47.866743, -121.473934

Turn right onto a trail in the woods.

MIN004

Location: 47.868784, -121.471321

Continue on paved road.

MIN005

Location: 47.891201, -121.44061

Road junction; turn left and cross the bridge over the North Fork Skykomish River.

MIN006

Location: 47.892794, -121.442687

Junction; turn right.

MIN007

Location: 47.90978, -121.438732

Use caution crossing this landslide section.

MIN008

Location: 47.914376, -121.439352

New bridge under construction; take a makeshift ladder down to cross.

MIN009

Location: 47.91572, -121.439789

Mine location.

MIN010

Location: 47.919054, -121.439242

Mine location.

MIN011

Location: 47.92563, -121.439926

Old bridge still spans the stream below.

MIN012

Location: 47.9281, -121.44003

Local backpackers drove this bus up to this location in the 80s and used it as a base camp for excursions.

MIN013

Location: 47.933248, -121.439404

The Monte Cristo Cabin has been standing since before 1979.

MIN014

Location: 47.935019, -121.439413

Shallow mine.

MIN015

Location: 47.937646, -121.43904

Bridge out; turn right and follow the pink tags that cut a path down to Silver Creek, across the gully, and up the other side.

MIN016

Location: 47.950879, -121.434259

Only one log remains of the original bridge; use caution when crossing.

MIN017

Location: 47.950798, -121.433287

Site of Mineral City.

Road Walk

Location: 47.874447, -121.4645

North Fork Skykomish

Location: 47.891831, -121.441841

Landslide Crossing

Location: 47.910014, -121.438751

Ladder

Location: 47.914559, -121.439481

Mine Entrance

Location: 47.915824, -121.439738

Small Falls

Location: 47.917032, -121.439202

Old Bus

Location: 47.928162, -121.440167

Monte Cristo Cabin

Location: 47.933338, -121.439481

Shallow Mine

Location: 47.935063, -121.439352

Balanced Crossing

Location: 47.950817, -121.434202

Historic Site

Location: 47.950759, -121.43328

Flattened earth and a few logging cables are all the remain of Mineral City