New Trail Mine is located Southwest of of Las Vegas, Nevada. Nearest town is Mountain Pass, California. Primary mining in the area included: Gold, Silver, Copper, and Zinc.
New Trail Mine consists of three collar shafts, two incline shafts and four portals. The BLM went through great effort and expense to seal all entrances with sturdy bat gates. It would appear that this mine has been made safe, but I would consider this mine less safe than those unaltered.
At the top of the main level tailing pile is a standing head frame over the main collar shaft which has been sealed with a bat gate cap. It was designed well and integrated with the head frame. The problem in the design was there was not enough of a support base. Over the years, runoff from above has worn under the bat gate support making the collar shaft much wider than the bat gate cap. The bat gate is now mostly supported by the head frame and will eventually drag it down with it.
What makes this mine less safe than most that are unaltered is the wooden door just on the other side creates temptation. Unlike all other portals to this mine, that wooden door is not secured and is daring someone to cross over to reach it. The most obvious way across serves as a funnel to the door by hugging the rock face. There is maybe a few inches of unsure footing preventing a fall of what appears to be over 80 feet before the view disappears.
Despite all the signs and every instinct inside telling me not to cross over, I did anyway with near tragic results. I was tethered to rope, which would have prevented a deep fall, but injury would still be likely as I hit the wall on the way down. There may come a day when someone who is stupid and brave comes across this mine without safety gear.
What is beyond that door is not worth the risk involved. It only has a depth of less than 15 feet before it ends. There's a wooden shelf along the wall and nothing more. Do NOT attempt to cross over. Do not climb on the unsupported bat gate.
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The most complete guide to Southern Nevada's mining history.
New Trail Mine. Ivanpah, California.
USGS Full Report
Primary Mining: Copper
Secondary Mining: Gold, Silver