Mackay, Idaho Mine Hill Tour

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Paul & Bruce. This town loves 4WD’s!

This was a fun day with our old buddies Paul & Judy.  We came to the area to see Craters of the Moon, but it turned out to be a great place to take our Jeeps out.  Some have compared Mackay to Moab, Utah, the west coast Mecca for Jeeps. Moab is pretty hard to beat, but no town could be more welcoming to 4WD folks.  Visiting the little town, we saw whole families out driving around town on their ATV’s.  The town has done an amazing job preserving the copper mining history of their ancestors.  They sell brochures all over town describing the tour, but at each stop there are signs describing each part of the mining operation that occurred there.

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The town of Mackay remains in a bygone era.
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Old movie theater
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An old building off the main Hwy.

The first stop at the base of the mountain is the site of the old railroad and smelting operation.  The first sign you read is this one.

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The old company outhouse
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The old Shay Railroad Engine House. The railroad carried the ore after it had been lowered down the mountain by a complicated tram system.

Old Photos of the Railroad (very early 1900’s)

 

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There was a Smelting Operation in this location as well.  This was only operational for a short time. Later the ore was transported elsewhere to be smelted.

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The Aerial Tramway which carried ore 3-1/2 miles down the mountain

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This tower was at the end of the tramway. It was important as it maintained the tension on the cables transporting the ore.

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Not all of the towers remain, but this photo gives an idea of how they were lined up to carry ore down to the railroad to be smelted
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Detailed diagram showing how the tram worked

At point the road begins to go upwards.

The Cossack Tunnel & Compressor Plant (1902-1956)

This tunnel was the longest and lowest on the mountain.

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Mining Crew

The Compressor Plant provided power for the miners drills & jackhammers.

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The Compressor Plant then.

 

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The Compressor Plant now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mine Entrance
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View down the mountain from this stop

I’d like to have a house with this view!

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Sign describing this site. Very little is left here.
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Another home site
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Beautifully restored cabin inside
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Old Family Cabin
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Climbing up and up the mountain.
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North Bullion Tunnel Site
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Mine Entrance then
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Mine Entrance Now
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View from North Bullion
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This beautiful blue rock was all around the mine. We wondered if it contains copper.

The Tramway Headhouse

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Description of the Tramway Headhouse. Here the ore was loaded up and sent down the mountain.
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Tramway Headhouse
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The roof & the view from the head house

 

 

The road continues to climb.  Some interesting shots.

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No OSHA here

 

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Interesting rock formation near the top of the mountain.

 

 

 

The mining road from above

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A well traveled 4WD road