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The Sam Strom Mines

Starting off on the walk, photo by Nels Rasmussen

If you are looking for an enjoyable walk that combines beautiful views, nature and a bit of history, then consider an easy 1.5 mile walk on the "Old Mountain Loop Highway along the Sauk River and Gold Hill. This road is just over the Sauk Prairie Bridge northeast of town. Once you cross the bridge, turn right. The road is gated due to flood damage which occurred further down the road. There is a quarry to the left of the gate ( or east) so please do not block their access. Along this road you will see three old mining tunnels, a reminder of the Gold Rush Days of Darrington.

Looking at the first mining tunnel, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

According to some of our old timers, these are some of the mining tunnels of an early pioneer prospector, Sam Strom. Sam was a prospector in the early days of Monte Cristo boom town and later he left the hustle and bustle and prospected northward in the Darrington area. Sam found a good vein of gold on Gold Hill and worked his claims as time allowed, then one day the vein ran out. He had speculated that he could find it again on a upper ledge above his tunnel but never found it. When construction of the Mountain Loop Highway began in 1936, there was a miss calculation in surveying the land and the road crew collapsed one of Sams tunnels
 The Sauk River, photo by Nels Rasmussen

After the first tunnel the this walk takes you along the Sauk River in a mix of deciduous and coniferous forest which opens up in spots to offer some great views to the west. The lush seepage to the east of the road is carpeted with moss and ferns. After a short distance you will come to the second mining tunnel to the east.
Looking inside the second mining tunnel, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C.

This tunnel has a small stream that has rerouted to run through it now. Mining tunnels are fascinating places to see, but they can also be very dangerous places. It is never safe to enter an old mine tunnel.

Looking at the last mining tunnel, photo by Nels Rasmussen, D.C. 

Not to much further past the second tunnel the road is barricaded due to storm damage. Just a little before the end of the road is the third tunnel, this tunnel is often filled with seepage. 


There use to be a fourth tunnel along this old road, but the wash out has made this part of the road impassable and too dangerous. Even with the flood damage to this road is interesting sometimes involving some smaller streams.  Sometimes when the lighting is right you can see the fourth mining tunnel while rafting down the Sauk River.