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Yankee Girl Mine

San Juan Mountains, Colorado

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Yankee Girl Mine

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  • Yankee Girl Mine is one of the most photographed sites in Colorado.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • County Road 31 is a subtle turn off of Highway 550.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • The mine sits above a huge tailings pile.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • More abandoned mining sites sit across the highway from Yankee Girl.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • Lower parking area. It is better to follow the left fork to the upper parking.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • The mine is privately owned and open to visitors.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • - Yankee Girl Mine
  • View of Yankee Girl from the Red Mountain overlook across Highway 550.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • Red Mountains No. 1 and 3 with Yankee Girl just visible from across the highway.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • Red Mountain No. 3.- Yankee Girl Mine
  • - Yankee Girl Mine
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Highly photogenic mine site. Fairly easy to reach.
Cons: 
Rough access road.
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Region:
San Juan Mountains, CO
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

In the 1880s and 1890s, the Red Mountain mining district was a booming 19th-century industrial juggernaut in the pristine San Juan Mountains. Silver was the basis of the currency, and much wealth was created in the area. Towns sprang up overnight, and the mountain sides were soon stripped of trees. Ranchers settled in the nearby valleys to raise cattle to feed the hungry miners, and railroads (like the Durango Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad) were built through rugged mountain passes to carry ore to be processed.

One of the richest discoveries in the area was made in 1882 by a prospector named John Robinson, and that claim was developed into the Yankee Girl Mine. One of only three vertical-shaft mines in the area, the Yankee Girl ore was so rich that it was shipped directly to the smelter, bypassing preliminary processing. The ore was valued at $10,000 per ton, and over $100 million (in today's terms) was extracted before the mine was shut down in 1898 after the country went to the gold standard and silver prices plummeted.

Today the mine is easily reached over a 1-mile rough road, and it is a very picturesque relic of Colorado's history. The mine is only a few miles from Red Pass, the highest (and most-daunting) of the three passes on the "Million Dollar Highway," which is part of the San Juan Skyway scenic drive. Across the highway from the Yankee Girl is a wonderfully informative overlook with many informative displays and great views of the surrounding Red Mountains and the ongoing Newmont Mining Corporation reclamation efforts.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

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(30 within a 30 mile radius)

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