Tyro Gold Mine – Bullhead City, AZ

Feb/15/2016 8 Malia Lane
Arizona, Historical, Solo RVing
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February 14, 2016 – I came to Needles, CA for the dry, warm weather after the constant gloomy grey skies and rain in my beloved Oregon.  I chose Needles Marina RV Park as my home for a couple of weeks at the recommendation of a friend who was staying here.  Cheryl is another solo woman fulltime RVer and she and I had been Facebook friends for a while and I was looking forward to the chance to meet in person.

Needles campfire

When I first got here, I was walking around the park and met a group of people parked in a circle enjoying a campfire and I said they looked like an old wagon train.  I’ll be doing a full review of the park shortly, but being here and this chance meeting ended up with one of the most unexpected and fun days I’ve had.

When I posted this to Facebook, I made this comment:  “One of the most questions I am asked the most is don’t I get lonely traveling by myself? I always say that RVers are the most friendly people ever, and if you’re lonely it’s because you make no effort to get out to meet anybody. Prime examples from my arrival at a new park yesterday: I’m walking around exploring my new home “yard” yesterday taking pictures. I see this large circle of people and walking by them, I said hi and asked how they were doing…”

By being willing to just stop and say hi, I wound up being invited to go with them and the owner of the campground, Rick, to the abandoned Tyro Mine in nearby Bullhead City.

Tyro Mine - road 1

I was particularly glad for the invite because this is someplace I never could have gotten to on my own since you definitely need a 4 wheel drive or ATV to get to the mine over some pretty rough roads.  Even at the outset, the scenery was spectacular and the road didn’t look too bad when we first started out…

Tyro Mine - Road 2

…but there were other spots I worried about even in a Jeep.  None of my pictures really show how rough the road is, but take my word for it – don’t even try it in a regular car!

Tyro Mine - Me & Cheryl

It was really great that Cheryl could make it with us and Rick took our picture with Lake Mohave in the distance.  He knew all the great spots with the best views so we were really lucky to have him as our “tour guide.”

Tyro Mine - mountains

The formations, shapes, textures and colors of the surrounding Black Mountains are so fascinating!

Tyro Mine - double tunnel

I’ve been in famous caves before with formal guided tours, but this felt like an even more special, more private experience.  Rick knew all the ins and outs and he pointed out that there were arrows to guide the way to the exit in places.  Still wouldn’t want to be in here by myself!

Tyro Mine - Rick 1

Rick waiting for us to catch up.  The light at the end of the tunnel to the right leads to this cutout where you can get up and out to the massive holes left by the excavation.  According to Arizona Mining History, the last production in this mine was in 1943.

Tyro Mine - me on ladder

I was willing to do this smaller ladder…

Tyro Mine - Cheryl 1

…that leads up to an area where you can walk out into the sunlight again.  I discovered Cheryl and I share a tendency to take hundreds of photos so we can relive our adventures anytime.

Tyro Mine - large ladder

But I wasn’t willing to go up this ladder no matter where it led!

Tyro Mine - me in cutout

It looks light here due to the flash and adjusting the exposure, but when we were all together and turned off all our flashlights, it was unbelievably dark.  I couldn’t even imagine how scary this place would be in the dark!  None of the pictures showed it, but there were sometimes large quartz deposits that sparkled when lit by our flashlights. Even though quartz could indicate gold in the area, obviously testing they did revealed some spots were just not worth the excavation.

Tyro Mine - Cheryl 2

In places you could see where the miners wedged wood up into the ceiling to hang lanterns or prepare for test holes.

Tyro Mine - debris

You really need to watch your step in places with the fallen rocks and old debris left behind.

Tyro Mine - geocache

A modern thing left here within the mine is this geocache.  One of the group, Don, was into geocaching and he found the one located within the mine (with Rick’s help).  I left my calling card to prove I was here, but I didn’t take any of the swag left by others.

I’d like to learn more about geocaching, but after I started in Michigan in 2011 and got one of those “bugs” that you ask others to help it along the way back to a destination (in my case, Austin), and it was never heard from again, I didn’t follow through any more.

Tyro Mine - Me emerging

Emerging from the cave entrance, I was a real happy camper because it was a great exploration!

Tyro Mine - wildflowers

We kept on the lookout for the wild burros frequently seen along the road or on mountainside, but we never spotted one.  But it was way cool that there were brilliant blooming wildflowers!

This day is yet another example of why I’ve never gotten tired of fulltime RVing even after 14 years – you can never tell who you’re gonna meet and where your journeys will take you!


More Info:

Location:  From Western Mining History – Latitude: 35.22722 — Longitude: -114.44972

Tyro Mine (Arizona Mining History) – One area has a larger room with a shaft descending into the lower level.  Some concrete foundations are in the area.  This is a unique mine as a portion is cut into the ground where the tunnels are cut into the sides.

During 1915 and 1916, the Tyro shaft was sunk to a depth of 500 feet, and some drifting was done on the 200-foot level. Some ore was produced from small pockets near the surface. During 1933-1934, W. E. Whalley and C. F. Weeks, lessees, built a road from the mine to the Katherine highway and began production from surface cuts on the vein.  Here, coarse-grained gneissic granite, cut by numerous narrow dikes of rhyolite-porphyry, forms rugged topography. The vein strikes northeastward, dips 85° SE., and forms a stringer lode with a prominent outcrop some 1,800 feet long by 20 to 35 feet wide. The stringers, according to Lausen, consist mainly of granular white quartz with platy calcite and, in places, glassy, yellowish quartz of probably the second stage of deposition. He states that the vein was not found in the deeper workings of the mine.

  • Helen

    Great blog Malia.. I love the picture of you coming out of the cave. This is one place I have never been and didn’t even know it was there.

    • Yeah, this was definitely one of the best times ever – especially since I would have never known of it, either, or been able to get there by myself if I did know where it was. Just another reason why it pays to be friendly to people in campgrounds. 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing your adventures! I decided two weeks ago to sell my house and buy an RV but yesterday I felt myself rethinking. It all seems so complicated and scary. Your blog was exactly what I needed to discover this morning! I added you to my feedly feed, so look forward to reading more about your adventures as I work toward my own. Thanks again!

    • Hi Sarah – glad to have you along! And hey, complicated can be figured out by just taking baby steps and progress will be made before you know it. Scary can be acknowledged and steps taken to make yourself as safe as possible, but there’s no wisdom in trying to put a cocoon around yourself to protect from all things you fear, or you just live your life in a prison of your own making. I hope you find your perfect rolling home and that some day we’ll meet on the road and swap travel tales. Find me on Facebook if you are there as that’s the best way to keep up with me since I post there much more frequently than I get around to doing website or blog posts. 🙂 https://www.facebook.com/malia.lane. Thanks for the comment!

  • Kevin George

    How fascinating to see your photos of the Tyro mine. My family owns the mine for decades. We still do. We visit the Tyro occasionally, but are too chicken to venture very far in. ? I’d love to meet someone at our mine and get a tour from a braver person! 602-481-3996. Kevin George

    • Hi Kevin, how cool that your family owns that mine! I probably wouldn’t have even known about it, much less ventured into it at all except the owner of Needles Marina RV Park (http://maliasmiles.com/california/needles-marina-rv/) and some other guests that were staying there when I was invited me to come with them. I suggest giving Rick a call at 760-326-2197 to get his input. And bring a good flashlight! 🙂

  • Iackie

    Hi there! Nice blog about Tyro. We have visited here several times over the years & take friends there when we visit the area. I was the one who placed the geo cache in the mine, sadly we visited there today & it’s gone. Always enjoy reading about who has found it, when they visit and where they’re from. Looks like the pad with visitor info was missing when you were there…

    To the owner, would love to take you there! Next time I’ll remember trash bags to help clean up some of the trash 🙂 what a great treasure the mine is!!!

    • What a nice offer! In case Kevin doesn’t see it here, I emailed him to let him know.

      I don’t know much about geo caching, but that’s too bad that it’s totally gone!

      Thanks for the comment!