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Bornite Mine Historical Trail

Looking at Helena Peak from the road, photo by Nels Rasmussen

As you hike it is easy to pick up the trail of the old tramway.  As you go notice the ancient Boulders Mt. Jumbo has unleashed over the many years, some as big as houses.  After about one mile of hiking the road is just a trail and you will begin to see the remains of puncheon and the rotting ties from the tramway. The trail winds up and down crossing a couple of small creeks that over time eroded away the remaining tramway, then it climbs upward into conifer forest.  At this point you will occasionally see the bed of the tram.  As the trail climbs you will see three square areas along the right of the trail that have been cut away from the slope of the hillside and leveled, these are the sites where three cabins once stood.  Keep an eye out for light rails of the aerial tram to the side of the trail.  

Starting the hike down the old tramway, photo by Nels Rasmussen

Just before you reach Copper Creek there are several fascinating artifacts along the trail.  You are now standing at a place once called "Copper" which was a camp for Bornite's workers.  There was another camp located at Frog Lake .  Just Before you reach Copper Creek you will see one of Jumbo's enormous boulders that was put to use with several anchor cable embedded in it. This was once used to support the aerial tram.
Anchor cables, photo by Nels Rasmussen

Take a look around, but leave historical places how you found them so future generations can enjoy them too.  You stand in a place where men had big dreams and fought incredible odds.  Over 100 men worked around the clock to build this place that was referred to as Bornite, Washington.    

Looking up Windy Pass, photo by Nels Rasmussen

When you look due south from the trail you will see Windy Pass  and Liberty Mountain, Bornite Creek, a seasonal waterfall and the locality of the Bornite mining tunnel.  The aerial tram came down this slope to "Copper" where you now stand.  During peak snow melt the Bornite Creek runs swiftly dropping down the huge rock face just before entering Copper Creek forming the very amazing Bornite Falls.  The climbing route fords Copper Creek then climbs up Windy Pass and passes near the mining tunnel on the way to Liberty Mountain.  An unmarked trail continues though the alders which can be hard to pick recommended continuing beyond this point only for an experienced climber with appropriate gear.

Artifacts from the old mining days, photo by Nels Rasmussen

The Bornite user trail is just a little further down the Forest road to the  Eight Mile Creek Trail #654.1.  You will start your hike on the old road which still is very close to the same route of the old Bornite Mine horse drawn tramway.  The road quickly deteriorates into a trail which is the climbers route to Liberty Mountain as well as the trail to Bornite, and is a unmaintained trail.  Pay attention as you hike in for points of reference that can be referenced for your return hike out.
Type of trail: User built
Length: about 3.5 miles
Elevation:  1,600 - 2,200
Level of difficulty: more difficult

Best Seasons: summer & fall

Seasonal Interest:
  • Summer - early summer seasonal Bornite Falls
  • Fall - fall colors, late fall opens up vistas

General Information:
History: Bornite trail follows the old tramway of the
Bornite Mine

Wilderness restriction: No

Restroom: none

Bring drinking water

Trail conditions unavailable, this is an unmaintained user trail.

Road Conditions: Forest road #2060 - Clear Creek/Copper Creek Road

Getting There: Drive east through Darrington, to the intersection of SR 530 & the Mountain Loop Highway, turn right going south, drive 2 miles to FS road #2060, (this is also the road that takes you to (Asbestos Creek Falls), drive 5.7 miles where you will come to a Y in the road, keep to your right which will put you onto FS road #2065, (this is also the road to Eight Mile Creek Trail #654.1 which you will pass at 6.2 miles) and you are driving on the old tramway bed to the Bornite Mine and the road becomes pretty rough.  At 6.6 miles you will come to a wide spot in the road with a clearing and good view of Helena Peak.  This is a good place to park and begin your hike.

Further Information: