More than $100 million dollars. That’s how much gold was mined from Battle Mountain in Victor. The Battle Mountain Trail takes visitors by one of the mining operations and below two others on Battle Mountain.
The hike starts near the Independence Mine on County Road 84 (directions below). Start hiking the fence-lined trail toward the large head frame in the distance.
First, you’ll pass a side-dump mine car, then a sign explains the concrete foundations below the trail were part of the Independence Mill. Then it’s time to head up the hill.
At the top, a covered area features ore-sorting equipment from the nearby Cresson Mine. Signs explain the ore sorting process.
Then visitors walk by the large remnants of the Independence Mine. A sign in the parking lot had extensive information about the Independence Mine’s history.
When the mine was discovered by Winfield Scott Stratton on July 4, 1891, the gold assayed at 19 ounces to the ton. Stratton eventually sold the mine for $11 million. The mine produced more than $28 mil. in gold.
After reading about the ore-sorting process and seeing the Independence, continue on the trail as it crosses a bridge, another road and heads up a hill.
As the trail bends north, you’ll pass an old house that is caving in and a bench next to the road.
Continue on the dirt road/trail and you’ll soon get your first view of the Portland Mine and a sign. The Portland Mine had two major shafts that descended 3,300 feet into the ground. The Portland was one of the largest gold producers in the area — producing $60 mil. in gold.
The sign here says you can see the head frame of the Ajax Mine to your left. However, depending on when you visit, trees may block your view. Let’s continue on the road/trail and we’ll see it later.
As I continued on the trail, I spotted a gated shaft in the rock on my right, but I don’t recommend leaving the trail. There are so many mine shafts and underground tunnels in this area, it’s best to stay on the main path.
After spotting this shaft, start looking on your left. You’ll see you’re right above the town of Victor. About 0.45 miles from the trailhead, you’ll come to the Victor overlook with a sign that explains some of the sites you’re seeing below.
You can turn around here or walk a bit further, past the high piles of leftover rock/ore to a mining tank. There’s a road split here and since I had hiked the trail distance (a half-mile), I decided to turn around.
On the way back, I spotted another head frame above me. That’s the head frame of the Ajax Mine. That steel frame was erected in 1959 to replace an old wooden one. The Ajax Mine produced $30 mil. in gold by the time it closed in 1961.
Details: The hike to the Victor overlook and back is 0.9 miles. The hike to the mining tank and road split is 1 mile roundtrip. There’s about 120 feet of elevation gain on the hike. That’s not much but at 10,000 feet, that elevation gain can be difficult on the elderly and kids.
Find more Colorado hiking trails in this list of 400+ hikes in Colorado. Don’t miss any of my trip reports, sign up for an email alert by clicking on subscribe at the top of this page and follow me on Facebook.
Directions: From Victor, take 2nd Street north to Diamond Avenue and turn right/east. Take Diamond Avenue/CO 67 a short distance to the CR 84 turnoff on your left. Turn left. Drive 0.2 miles to the trailhead/parking lot on your left.