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
- Distance: 12.2
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.
Location: 47.865043, -121.476862
Trail returns to paved road.
Location: 47.866743, -121.473934
Turn right onto a trail in the woods.
Location: 47.868784, -121.471321
Continue on paved road.
Location: 47.891201, -121.44061
Road junction; turn left and cross the bridge over the North Fork Skykomish River.
Location: 47.892794, -121.442687
Junction; turn right.
Location: 47.90978, -121.438732
Use caution crossing this landslide section.
Location: 47.914376, -121.439352
New bridge under construction; take a makeshift ladder down to cross.
Location: 47.91572, -121.439789
Location: 47.919054, -121.439242
Location: 47.92563, -121.439926
Old bridge still spans the stream below.
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.
Location: 47.933248, -121.439404
The Monte Cristo Cabin has been standing since before 1979.
Location: 47.935019, -121.439413
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.
Location: 47.950879, -121.434259
Only one log remains of the original bridge; use caution when crossing.
Location: 47.950798, -121.433287
Site of Mineral City.
Location: 47.874447, -121.4645
North Fork Skykomish
Location: 47.891831, -121.441841
Location: 47.910014, -121.438751
Location: 47.914559, -121.439481
Location: 47.915824, -121.439738
Location: 47.917032, -121.439202
Location: 47.928162, -121.440167
Monte Cristo Cabin
Location: 47.933338, -121.439481
Location: 47.935063, -121.439352
Location: 47.950817, -121.434202
Location: 47.950759, -121.43328
Flattened earth and a few logging cables are all the remain of Mineral City