This morning the Murph and I set out to explore the Richinbar Mine located about an hour north of Phoenix on Black Mesa. That’s on the south side of Yavapai County up on the Mogollon Rim (ya just can’t make-up names like that).
Named after Richard N. Barker, “Richenbar” (though it probably should have been spelled Rich-N-Bar), the mine was actually quite the deal back in the 1930’s and produced gold and silver until the 1940’s.
We parked just off the highway, the trailhead marked by a windmill with two water tanks standing beside. Climbing the cattle gate, we proceeded down the dirt road toward the windmill at a very easy stroll. The windmill screened the crumbling remains of a corral.
Passing the structure, we continued on for another half mile at the road turned south and descended gently, leading us to the very edge of the canyon and another set of ruins. An old house with a breath taking view of Black Mesa Canyon. Turning south we discovered the remains of the actual mining town. It was very difficult to reconcile the pictures of the active mining settlement with the ruins I saw them, but there was little doubt to the open shafts. I found three. The deepest (the Zyke Shaft) is supposed to be over 500 feet deep with subterraneous connections to several thousand feet of tunnels that extend northward, though as of 1934, the tunnels below 200 feet were flooded. It would have been fascinating to go down and explore, but of course, extremely foolish.
Murphy and I poked around for a good while, exploring the water tanks, what was probably a store room and other, unidentifiable ruins. To the south there was a large area of flat rock, but it was too difficult to reach with Murphy (I was afraid for her paws – lots of prickly-pear cactus).
Above the mine, on the edge of a short precipice, lay the ruins of a Native American pueblo (presumably Yavapai). In truth there was little remaining, but the stacked-stone wall was certainly man-made. My guide book suggested the presence of petroglyphs, unfortunately I failed to find any. It turns out that the ancient markings were only a short walk farther to the north (according to a hitherto unknown map).
It was an easy hike that covered just a little under 3½ miles. The trail was almost all a well-worn dirt road and access to the ruins was very open. The only point of challenge was climbing the farmers gate at the trail head (which apparently is the appropriate mode of access and perfectly acceptable). Which reminds me. The first point of interest that I passed was the Richinbar windmill and coral. This was the landmark from the highway that marked the trailhead.
It was a great hike that left me hungry for more. Next stop? Hmm…