Sallie Barber mine hike: A trail for all seasons


The Sallie Barber Mine trail is just a short drive from the house, and can be used year round. We love it for a warm up hike and easy mountain- bike trail in the summer and early fall, and for snow shoeing/cross country skiing in the late fall, winter and spring. From the house, drive back to Wellington and turn right. Go to the end of Wellington and turn right on Reiling Road. This will become a non-paved road (French Gulch). Continue on French Gulch about 2.5 miles to the trailhead. There will be a parking area on the right. Park there and walk about 500 feet to a gated jeep road and follow the trail.

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The trail is a fairly easy, gradual climb to the historical remains of the Sallie Barber Mine, which is located on the south rim of French Gulch on Barney Ford Hill. It is about 1.5 miles to the remains of the mine, with approximately 400 ft. of elevation (starting elevation is 10,335 ft., and ending at 10,778 ft.)

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There are 3 informational signs around the mining relics and ruins. The mine opened in 1880 and miners found lead carbonate and sulfide ore with zinc. The zinc sulfide was too expensive to mine so the mine was abandoned. Two years later, another group of miners struck galena and carbonates that had lead and silver. By 1899, the mine had made $1,000 and was getting larger. The mine was abandoned in 1911, but restarted for a short time during World War I to mine zinc. Signs at the site explain that miners worked on four levels, the lowest being 365 feet below the surface.

Views of Keystone ski area from Sallie Barber mine

Views of Keystone ski area from Sallie Barber mine

The vistas from  the backside of the mining building are spectacular. From there you can view Keystone Ski Resort in the distance, as well as Mineral Hill (10,891’), Brewery Hill (11,370’), Humbug Hill (11,031’) and Farncomb Hill (11,337’).

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If you want to make this a little longer hike, the trek to “True Romance” mine will add about another mile. As you come up the trail to Sallie Barber mine, there is another trail on the left behind the informational sign. The trailhead says, “Nightmare on Baldy”. Take this trail to the “True Romance” mine. Go straight up the hill about a third of a mile until the trail comes to a right and left fork. Take the left fork and go about 2/3 mile on an old road to an open area with a single pole that says, “True Romance”. The mine shaft is on the right side of the trail.

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