Montgomery Creek Canyon
Montgomery Mining Camp:
Mountain Queen Mine
Montgomery City, California
WHITE PEAK DISTRICT
As with many historic names inside California, this remote location cannot be classified as a ‘city’ in todays terms. It may have been a notable location back in the early days of early settlement, but it did not last long. Notable producers of this region were the Phoenix Mine and Mountain Queen Mine.
terrain: desert mountain peaks
Old mining camp near the Nevada state border
Eastern California, on Nevada border
NE of Bishop, & 40 mi. SE of Bodie, CA
East of US 395, up Highway 6 @ Benton, turn right / South towards the Benton dump w/ dirt road Inyo Forest Road #1S77 leading up Montgomery Canyon. 4×4 will be needed to drive the dirt access road. Hiking may be required to reach mining ruins.
- Back Roads
- Mono Lake
- Mono Craters
- Old Mines
- Benton Hot Springs
When Mono County was still in its infancy, the town of Benton became a destination of miners seeking new strikes, and by 1865 was the county’s largest town.
Miners found ore where perpendicular cliffs of Montgomery Canyon opened onto the alluvial fan. Montgomery City and its mines didn’t thrive for very long and like most operations typical of this era, eventually became an abandoned site.
Circa 1863 and 1864, “some very rich rock was found in Montgomery Canyon, and a tremendous rush and excitement was the consequence. A lively little town of three or four thousand inhabitants at once sprung up, locations were made and mines opened out, and large shipments of rich ore made to San Francisco and other places. I have been told that some of the ore was worth from $2 to $3 a pound; but the ledges were broken on the surface, and apparently gave out, and the excitement soon subsided.”
Montgomery Peak – 13,441′ elev
Mount Dubois – 13,559′
White Mountain Peak – 14,246′
Stone walls can be found within the mining site, located within the drainage of Montgomery Creek. A few old stone cabins hold on to the brink of existence, far up this secluded high desert canyon.
Benton on US Hwy 6 was established as Benton Station in 1880 when the narrow gauge Carson & Colorado Railroad came through the area. Montgomery City is a true ghost town, in every sense of the phrase. Those who make the rough and steep journey to reach this remote location should be rewarded with an enjoyable day trip.
Backpackers, hikers and off-roaders who plan to explore this region in depth should follow the trailhead link above for GPS points and notes on this canyon. A topographic map of the area would also help in navigation.
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