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Black Brush Uranium Mines, AZ
mini location map2014-03-14
18 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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page 1   2
 
Black Brush Uranium Mines, AZ 
Black Brush Uranium Mines, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Mar 14 2014
Oregon_Hiker
Hiking4.40 Miles 1,340 AEG
Hiking4.40 Miles
1,340 ft AEG
 
1st trip
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Grasshopper
This was the first full day hike of a six day camping trip with Grasshopper to the Upper Cherry Creek area of the Sierra Ancha Mountains. Our destination for this hike was the Black Brush Uranium Mines high above Cherry Creek Road on the east side of McFadden Horse Mountain. Mining access to this area was made possible by the extension of FR203 up the canyon from the Ellison Ranch to connect with HW288 in the early 1950s with funding from the Atomic Energy Commission. These mines were staked in 1954 and 2 major adits were dug. In 1955 and 1956 two shipments of ore, 7.9 tons and 11.23 tons, were made to the Cutter Uranium buying station about 8 miles south of Globe. Mine operations were shut down shortly after 1956. Samples taken from the mines during a later mining survey indicated that Adit #1 had the highest uranium concentration of any of the mines they sampled in the SA Wilderness. These tidbits of info are from the 1985 Mining Investigation of the Sierra Ancha.

The trail to the Black Brush uranium mines starts at the Grapevine (#135) trail head which is 2 miles down FR203 from our campsite. The old mining road to the BB mines branches to the right off of the Grapevine Trail (also an old mining road) at 1.1 mile from the TH. These trails are not maintained. The Grapevine Trail up to the intersection with the BB mine road is getting overgrown with Manzanita and other brush but the cows keep a path semi open through these obstacles. The BB trail is very overgrown for much of the first 0.5 miles and we had to hack our way through with loppers. A light rainfall started at this point and didn't stop until we reached the mines so I stashed the camera and didn't get many pics along this stretch.

The mines are located along a road blasted and bulldozed out of the solid rock hill side following the layer of gray/black Dripping Springs Quartzite which contains the uranium. The first and northern most mine we encountered is referred to as Adit #2 in the mining survey. It was dug horizontally into solid rock and did not require timber reinforcement. The mine tunnel is approximately 100 ft long and still in good shape The area had been cleaned up. There is very little old mining junk laying around with the exception of two rusty spring bed frames laying on rotten boards on the road bed in front of the mine. The second mine, Adit #1, is approxmately 600 ft further down the road and has a tall narrow opening. The shaft extends 56 ft with a crosscut shaft 25 ft from the mine opening extending 140 ft.

We ended our hike at these mines and headed back for the trail head. There appeared to be a fork in the road which headed down into Deep Creek Canyon and there is another fork which follows the Dripping Spring Quartzite layer northeast to the Sorrel Horse Uranium mines about a half mile from the BB mines. These could make for some interesting exploring another time.
Flora
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