Wick's Mine

There are several “walk variations” in the section of Wicks Canyon which is just north of NM-152.  (Other walks in the canyon are covered on the Black Peak Walk and Black Peak Mine pages.)

The Wicks Mine is featured in “Mines of the Hillsboro Mining District - Vol. 3” (the video is embedded below if you are happy with a smaller image size).  The mine is located on the east slope of the ridge which borders North Wicks Canyon on the west.


The ruins of a headframe and of the shaft framing are still present at the main shaft of the Wicks Mine (photos below - all of which were taken on April 30, 2015).


Wicks Vein Workings

The photo immediately above shows two of the cement pads which are to the east of the main shaft at Wicks.  One was probably used as the foundation for the winch which was used to raise and lower miners and to raise ore.

When Steve Elam and I visited the site on April 30 we were not able to lower equipment down the interior of the framing.  However, a substantial cave-in has occurred immediately adjacent to the framing and we were able to take video of the outside of the frame - a unique perspective.

Some residents of Hillsboro remember being lowered down the shaft, in a bucket, when they were children.  Others worked in the mine during its latest incarnation.  Stories about the bucket tilting and almost dumping family members down the shaft bring a shake of the head.

George Townsend Harley reported ("The Geology and Ore Deposits of Sierra County, New Mexico" that the “original discovery of placer gold is said to have been made in Wicks Gulch late in 1877...the source of the placer gold had been located in the Wicks vein, which can be traced along a dike from the highway leading into Hillsboro from Hot Springs, through to the south slope of Black Peak, where it disappears under the basalt capping of that hill.” (p. 157)  The photograph to the right shows the workings along the vein as it leads southwest from the main shaft of Wicks Mine.

Harley believed that the workings on the north side of Black Mountain were on a continuation of this vein (p. 158).

Steve Elam preparing platform for lowering equipment. Wicks Mine Hillsboro Mining District.

The main shaft at the Wicks Mine was 300’ deep and had several tunnels and pits.  Immediately adjacent to the vein worked by this shaft was another parallel vein which was mined via a 200’ deep shaft.  At the time of Harley’s report he noted that the total production at this site was about $150,000 and that “some placer mining is conducted in Wicks Gulch from time to time, but most of the placer gold seems to have been recovered from what was at best a very small area of concentration.” 

In Bulletin 39, “The Metal Resources of New Mexico and Their Economic Features Through 1954” Eugene Carter Anderson (State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, published in 1957) states that “The Black Peak Mining Co. operated the mine in 1941 and shipped ore to El Paso.” (p.124)


The trail to Wicks Mine starts at the pull out on NM-152 (at an elevation of 5,509’) and follows the main road up North Wicks Canyon.  This road is easy to walk on and has only minor elevation changes.  Just short of 1/2 mile from the start (at an elevation of about 5,480’) turn west toward obvious diggings on the hill side.  Proceed up hill, gaining roughly 100’ in elevation, until you reach a large pit with a permanent pond of water.  In the photograph of the workings along the vein (above) this is the pit in the middle of the photograph.  The trail described as the North Wicks Canyon to Ready Pay Gulch Overlook (see below) runs diagonally across this photograph, just above the pit.  At this point, it is .68 miles back to NM-152.  The trail continues, more steeply and rockier, uphill to the headframe at the Wicks Mine.  The shaft is at an elevation of about 5,720’ and is about .86 miles from the start at NM-152.

Abandoned Equipment, Wicks Mine, Hillsboro Mining District

Abandoned Building Foundations & Headframe, Wicks Mine, Hillsboro Mining District

Headframe and framing, Wicks Mine, Hillsboro Mining District


The trail to the Ready Pay Gulch Overlook starts at the pull out on NM-152 (at an elevation of 5,509’) and follows the main road up North Wicks Canyon.  This road is easy to walk on and has only minor elevation changes.  Just short of 1/2 mile from the start (at an elevation of about 5,480’) turn west toward obvious diggings on the hill side.  Proceed up hill, gaining roughly 100’ in elevation, until you reach a large pit with a permanent pond of water.  In the photograph of the Wicks Mine workings along the vein (below) this is the pit in the middle of the photograph.  At this point, it is .68 miles back to the start of the trail.  Follow the old road around the pit to the south and continue uphill.   The trail is steeper and more rocky as it continues in a straight line to the saddle and the Ready Pay Gulch overlook, at an elevation of 5,793’.  This trail is just short of a mile long (.9 miles).

Ready Pay Gulch Overlook


Vein workings SE of Wicks Mine, Hillsboro Mining District

east dike

There is an old mining road, quite overgrown, which connects the overlook to the Wicks Mine shaft (and trail).  It is possible, therefore, to make a loop which ends at the pit described above.

Across the valley from Wick’s Mine are the diggings along the east dike which radiates from the Copper Flat area.  This trail is on an old mining road and involves cross-country walking in part.

As you approach Hillsboro from the east there is a pull-out on the north side of NM-152 which is often used by locals to make cell phone calls - there is no cell service in the town of Hillsboro.  The pull out is at the arrow on the bottom right of the Google Earth image below.  An old mining road runs up into North Wicks Canyon from this point.  Looking north from this vantage point a prominent dike running up the hillside immediately to the north (just right of the line in the photo to the right) is visible.  If you were a miner you would refer to this dike as a vein, and there are numerous diggings along its length.  On the other (west) side of North Wicks Canyon there is another dike (vein).  Wicks mine is located along that vein.

The diggings along this vein are mostly trenches and start in the wash at the southern base of this hill, continue up the hill, at the crest of the hill there is shaft, continuing down the north side of the hill there are additional trenches which continue up the south slope of the next hill - there are also some shafts in this area.

I have yet to find a named mine along this dike - more an indication of the lack of historical records than an indication that these diggings were not named.  This dike, and the one across the canyon are two in a series which radiate out from the Copper Flat mine area.

a


The walk which is outlined above, and to the right, is 3.1 kilometers long, has a maximum grade of 22%, and there is a net elevation gain of 83 meters.  The maximum elevation is 1710 meters.  Part of the walk is along the old mining road, part is down a wash, and the rest is cross country across rocky slopes.  This is good snake country, especially in the summer, lots of opportunity to twist an ankle or even fall down a shaft.  Exercise due diligence.  This survey was conducted on August 1, 2016 and the photographs which describe this walk were taken on that date.


photo locations east dike

The photograph immediately above is the shaft at the top of the ridge, “A” on the map to the right.  The photograph with the line showing the orientation of the dike is along the area shown as “B” on the map.  The most southerly of the workings along this dike, in this area, is shown below, “C” marks the location of these workings on the map above.   The photograph below shows trenching near the crest of the hill, “D” on the map.

Looking north from the crest of this hill, trenching on the south side of the next hill north is visible, “E” on the map and the image below.

George T. Harley, in The Geology and Ore Deposits of Sierra County, New Mexico describes these workings as:  “On the ridge east of Wick's Gulch some recent (Bulletin 10 was published in 1939) work along a well-defined dike uncovered a vein from which small shipments of commercial ore were made.” (p. 158)

“C” on the map above, East Dike North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA

“D” on the map above, East Dike North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA

“E” on the map above, East Dike North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA


Debris in the wash at the base of the East Dike, North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA

Kif Dike, East Dike North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA

Claim Markers of various pedigree mark the area, East Dike, North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA

East Dike, North Wick's Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA


The mine workings along the west slope of North Wicks Canyon (other than the Wicks group and the Morning Glory) are typically adits and trenches, like the one pictured below. The photographs (below) depicting the west slope of North Wick’s Canyon were taken on August 5, 2016.

Mine Workings on West Slope of North Wicks Canyon, East of Hillsboro, NM, USA


mine workings on w side of wicks

In the photograph to the right, two of the workings on the west slope are shown, at the top arrow the working is the same as that directly above.

George T. Harley, in The Geology and Ore Deposits of Sierra County, New Mexico describes these workings as “on the east side of the long ridge which separates Wicks Gulch and Ready Pay Gulch on the west. Some ore was taken from these workings in years past, but except for sporadic reopening similar to that of the Morning Glory operations, these mines have been idle and are largely caved.” (p. 158)

The photograph directly below shows North Wicks Canyon as seen from Black Peak.  The ridge which starts at the center right of the photograph and extends almost to the center left of the image is the west slope of the canyon (east slope of the ridge).

The workings shown in these photographs are just barely discernible about a quarter of the way in from the right edge of the image.  The Morning Glory Mine is about one quarter of the way in from the left edge of the image.  

In the image below, workings along the west slope, at the head of the canyon, are visible as a tailings pile about a third of the way down from the top of the ridge on the right.  This working was along an outcropping.  The diggings shown in the top two photographs are seen near the left edge of the image.

The image at the bottom of this page is of the working shown at the bottom arrow of the photograph to the right.



© Robert Barnes 2018