Exploring the Bonanza Mine in the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness


The first weekend of Autumn was an opportunity to hike along a stream, explore an old mine and climb to the summit of mountain.

The Bonanza Trail entered the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness shortly after leaving the trailhead, but it quickly became obvious the trail gets little use and even less maintenance.

The first 1 1/2 miles stayed in the Cheeney Creek Valley and was mainly a nice walk through the alders by the Creek. The next mile climbed the western canyon wall to an old, abandoned mine shaft.

I don’t know what minerals they extracted from the Bonanza Mine, but the mine shaft was six-foot tall, extended 100 feet into the mountain and still had some rusting ore-cart rails visible.

Now the hard work began. There was 2,000 feet of elevation to gain in the next three miles. I soon entered into a transition zone of hemlocks, lodgepole pine, noble fir, beargrass and rhododendrons.

By the time the 4,300-foot summit of Huckleberry Mountain was reached, I was in an alpine area. Earlier in the year it was strewn with wildflowers of every color when I hiked to the summit from the Boulder Ridge Trail.

Mt. Hood loomed large over the skyline covered in fresh snow, but the clouds obscured most of it. I looked down on Hunchback Mountain, thinking how many times I had grown weary hiking to Great Pyramid.

On the way back it dawned on me that I had not seen one other hiker.  Amazing!

Entrance to the Bonanza Mine

Looking over Hunchback Mountain to a cloud-covered Mt. Hood

A classic nursery log

Garter Snake

Summit of Huckleberry Mountain with a cloud-covered Mt. Hood in background

Mt. Hood from the summit of Huckleberry Mountain in early July

Bonanza Mine Shaft

Vine Maple leaves starting to pick up their autumn colors

Signs of old-time logging along the lower trail

Mississippi Head peeking through the clouds on Mt. Hood

Lichen and Fungi

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , ,

2 comments

  1. I can imagine it was quite a hefty climb to get these views, and enjoyed reading your experience of it, John. I loved seeing the photos at the top, and the different weather patterns hovering over beautiful Mt. Hood. Nice that you included a photo from a July day too. Lovely photos of beautiful findings along the trail, I liked seeing remnants of the mine. Lovely post, John, as always.

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