Chief Silver Mine Tour

Thanks for your interest in the Chief Silver mine and ATV tour.  A typical mine tour day starts at 8:30am.  I make personal introductions, ask that you sign a waiver, set you up with safety glasses, helmets with lamps, knee pads and gloves.  I then give you detailed instructions and operational information on the ATV you will use getting up to the Chief Silver mine.  We then take the ATVs up to the top of the Chief at 5,000’ elevation.  At the top, you overlook 500 square miles of conservation land where no one can ever build.  We park our ATVs at the end of the parking lot and take some beautiful photos. 

We will use a 1” diameter rope to lower ourselves into the adit (opening of a mine) Chief and head down to the Blue Room, the 125’ level.  We do not use a rappelling harness as the 1” diameter rope works to help you steady yourself.  It’s called the Blue Room because all the walls are blue from natural mineralization.   I’ll then give you a little history of mining and minerals.  You can take a hammer and chisel to remove some silver ore, blue opal and other minerals if you like.   There are bright lights all the way down to the 450’ level.  While traveling up and down the main shaft, notice that the rock strata follows the shaft.  You will see many amazing colored minerals along the way.  Constantly check the ground you walk on for unusual rocks or things.  We have found many geodes, various color fluorite, aurichalcite, malachite, azurite, galena and many other minerals along with trilobites, which have been extinct for 300 million years.

We will travel down to the end of the incline shaft, 450’, then follow a drift to the left, another 150’, where the shaft ends.   I’ll take some more photos of the wooden structures down there with you and go into detail about the wooden structures.  We go back to the 400’ level, climb a ladder and check out the Vault Room.  The Vault Room walls glitter with billions of druzzies (the start of a crystal formation).  The Vault Room has excessive veins of silver ore.  You’ll see some original 100 year old candles in the Vault Room.  Just imagine back in the day these miners were using candles to extract the ore they were mining.  Explore the Vault Room and then head back to the Blue Room, then follow the horizontal shaft which leads to the outside.  While walking out the horizontal shaft to the outside, as well as in the mine, you may see some bats.  They fly around with no intention of harming you.  Remember we are invading their space.

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The mine holds many natural treasure - all for the finding and taking!

The Chief Silver mine is completely dry except for one area.  While walking out of the horizontal shaft, you will walk over a 2’ x 8’ walkway.  While walking thru the shaft holding a digging iron one day, I was tapping the floor to make sure it was solid.  I heard a hollow sound and had to remove 18” of dirt and rock, 3’ wide and 15’ long to find an area where the miners left their tools when they left the mine for the season, or when the price of silver went too low.   The one area has a drip of water that drops about once every 30 seconds.  There is no apparent water source where the water could accumulate from.   See the calcite formation on the ceilings, miniature stalactites, and where the water drop hits the limestone rock near the floor.  These calcite formations in one million years would probably grow into a beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formation.

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And the mine holds many man-made goodies & treasure - all for the finding and taking!

You will see many old historic artifacts while traveling thru the Chief Silver Mine.  You will see stakes driven into the bedrock wall with pieces of wire that originally held Tommy Stickers.   A Tommy Sticker is a piece of metal which a hook that can be driven into wooden beams or hung on hooks that hold candles.  You’ll see the original carbide lamps the miners used after the 1920’s.  There are old kerosene lanterns along the way as well.   See old sticks of dynamite made locally in St David AZ from Apache Powder Company from 1922.  At this point the mine tour is over and takes approximately 3 hours.  Now, hopefully you will join us for the ATV tour.  You can take the mine tour by itself, combine it with the ATV tour, or take the ATV tour by itself.

Across from my shop is the original assayer’s office from back in the day.  The first year while metal detecting, I found 14 pounds of rusty nails, not much of a find for all the time I put in.  The next year I found a very small silver coin.  It was from Sweden, dated 1859.  It’s probably a $5.00 coin on eBay but to me it’s priceless.

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Elizabeth with mineral collection

An old friend from PA told me his son is a geologist and his daughter had a great mineral and rock collection. Hearing this I just had to put a beautiful sample of minerals, rocks and trilobites together and send it to her. Elizabeth was beyond excited. The grandfather was so impressed with my specimen box, he asked that I ship another 2 specimen mineral boxes to his other 2 grand children. So happy to help out.

tooth from crevass

One day after coming out of the horizontal shaft and out of curiosity, I rappelled down a 40’ crevasse to see what was down there.  As I said, always look on the ground for unusual looking and odd things.  I found a 2 ½” prehistoric tooth which looks like it was from a Saber tooth tiger.  You will never know what you may find along the way.

Length of Tours and Prices

Mine tour alone is $40.00 per person, 3 hours.

ATV tour alone is $140.00 per person, 4-6 hours.

Package mine and ATV tour is $160.00 per person, 8 to 10 hours.

If you have your own ATV/UTV, you’re welcome to bring it and use it.

Pricing for ATV  tour guide is $25.00 per person with a minimum charge of $100.00.
This covers up to 4 people, then $25.00 per person on top of the $100.00 minimum.

Do You Have Pre-Tour Questions?

Or Are You Ready to Book Your Tour?

 Please call - (520) 345-4682  or send an email to bob@desertadventuresvailaz.com to schedule your tour date or to ask pre-tour questions.

 

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