This interesting trip covers a variety of mine sites, from the most prosperous in the area (Desert Queen) to those that were obviously not successful.
The Desert Queen mine was operational from 1895 to 1961 and was one of the most productive gold mines in the southern California desert. This was the largest and longest operating mine in the park.
The gold mine was founded in 1894 by Frank L. James. It has a history of murder and payoffs as the profitable goldmine changed hands over the years until it fell into the hands of longtime desert resident and homesteader Bill Keys. Keys lived with his family at the nearby Desert Queen Ranch for nearly 50 years. In 1976, The National Park Service entered the Desert Queen Mine in the National Register of Historic Places. It is an excellent example of nineteenth century mining industry in southern California.
Directions from Oasis Visitor Center: Follow Utah Trail southward to a fork in the road. Bear right toward Jumbo Rocks Campground. Pass the campground and continue driving two miles to Geology Tour Road. Instead of turning left on to Geology Tour Road, turn right and drive 1.4 miles to the Pine City backcountry registry. The Desert Queen Mine Trail leads eastward from the trailhead.
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