Make Mine A Double
Carbonate Camp and the Carbonate Mining District was made up of dozens of mines in the region. Some of the more famous ones were, Cleopatra, Segregated Iron Hill, Spanish R, Adelphi, Iron Hill, and Seabury-Calkins Mines. Mining began in 1881 with prospectors finding Gold, Silver, and Lead. Railroads never serviced this area so ore had to be taken by wagon to Lead for processing. Once you take this adventure it will become quite apparent how difficult this regimen would have been in the 1800'S. This is a difficult traverse even now with today's modern high horsepower all wheel drive vehicles.
Have a plan and let someone know what it is. This is a remote area with little or no phone service. Involving a vehicle on this dual sport adventure ups the possibility of something going wrong. GPS is highly suggested and run a track. Be prepared to mark the trail with tape or something if you don't have access to a GPS. It is extremely easy to get lost with all the roads criss crossing the area.
4 X 4 directions to trailhead
Starting at Forest Road 628 head south. This is the Hepler Game Production area you are passing thru and is a Bald Eagle Viewing area. Take this road 2.9 miles to a T, ignoring the side roads, stay on the main travelled road. Turn left ( south) here on Forest Road 220. The sign was knocked down as of this writing. Reset your odometer. At 1.14 miles there are great views of the plains east of the Black Hills and Bear Butte. Continuing without resetting your odometer at 3.5 miles there is a cabin on your left and you come to a Y. Bear right here. At 3.74 miles take a hard right. At 4.08 miles turn left. At 4.5 miles observe a mine fenced off on the left. At 4.6 Miles you come to what I call Quandary corner. Five two tracks come together at this location. Make note of which one you arrived on. This is your trailhead. Trail conditions can change out here on a day to day basis. As of this writing only hard core off road would proceed further.
Hike up the two track to your right to the top of the hill and to the right. You will locate the Carbonate cemetery. Just past the cemetery a two track goes off to the left. Follow this to some interesting mines and an old cabin. Return the way you came after exploring and go back to Quandary corner. Now take the two track to the left of the one you arrived on. This will take you to the Carbonate Camp site along with ruins and several mine shafts. Return to Quandary corners and explore the other two tracks to your hearts content. After returning from this adventure I'm sure you'll be saying " Make Mine A Double ".
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