Lost Burro Mine, Death Valley
The Lost Burro Mine can be found about 2.7 miles SSE of Teakettle Junction through the Lost Burro Gap along the Hidden Valley road. The mine is off to the right on the northern end of a small mountain range located between Racetrack Valley and Hidden Valley. Much of this area of Death Valley National Park is designated wilderness. Please respect this resource.
As you drive up the toward the mine you will see the miners cabin at the end of the draw along with cousin Jack dug out, and an out house. Farther up the hill is the location of the mill for processing ore along with adits and prospect holes.
This mine was accidentally discovered in 1907 by Bert Shivley as he was trying to round up his burros and picked up a heavy rock to throw at one of the lost burros. There was free gold in it and on the surface of the ground and Shivley filed six claims with assays pegged at $40 to $1000 a ton. The mine traded ownership and partners many times over the years including A.Z. "Shorty" Borden, and survived the financial depression of 1907. The main deposit was a gold vein mineralized in diorite host rock.
In 1913 the Montana-Tonopah Company leased the property and their tests showed that 85% of the gold could be recovered by amalgamation. Construction was immediately begun for a fifty-ton, five-stamp mill.
The mine ceased operations in 1917 and reopened again in the 1930s. Finally, a Mr. W.C. Thompson became the sole owner in 1970 and continued to work the mine in small amounts for some time.
Today the miners cabin displays relics from the early days of mining at the Lost Burro and there are other artifacts scattered around the area. Please leave these “finds” for the next visitors and explorers to enjoy.