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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
?
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Highly photogenic mine site. Fairly easy to reach.

Cons

Rough access road.

Pets allowed

Yes

Address

Co Rd 31
Ridgway, CO 81432
United States

Features

Wildflowers
Big vistas
Mine

Location

Field Guide

Comments

I had always admired Yankee Girl from across the road, which is definitely worth the time to stop...but wanted to see it up close and see what the view was like in the opposite direction. The road to it is rough and last fall, in extremely terrible condition at the mine site, so I just found a place to park. Well worth the time to check it out up close!
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