This trail turned out to be one of the highlights of the day, with some amazing scenery, a few challenges, and a mine that was largely intact. We really enjoyed this one.
It follows Prospect Gulch and passes the famous Henrietta Mine, and there is a place to stop below the Joe and John Mine where you can see some mining remnants. You can also see quite a bit across the valley, but we didn't find a way over there. We hung out at the Joe and John Mine for a little while before continuing on.
We decided to go up Red Mountain Number 3 first, so we skipped the big mine on the way up. We climbed above timberline and through a few switchbacks, and it was cool to be climbing along the red slab of mountain. When we got to the final switchback, it looked like the trail might end up ahead but Monica went farther anyway, just to check things out. She got to the end to find that the trail was a little wider in a bowl where she'd need to turn around or back all the way back to the switchback. She got out to plan her path and chat with the rest of the group about it. In the end, she spotted while Walt turned her Jeep around, and then she headed back to the switchback.
The views at the switchback were amazing! We could see places we'd been earlier, including the big overlook on Corkscrew Basin as well as the spur above Gold King Mine on Minnehaha Basin. It was pretty cool, and we knew that Niko had drone footage he took on Corkscrew Basin that would show the switchback on Galena Queen Mine. Very cool.
The views were awesome, but we wanted to check out the big mine so we headed down. We were surprised to find the trail torn up just before the mine, making it a nice little challenge. No one had any issues, and we were soon parked at the mine.
There is so much to see at the Galena Queen Mine because so much of it is still standing and in the original places. We talked about how things must have worked and the pieces that were missing, and wondered what some things were for. It was pretty cool, and the views from the open door were awe inspiring.
After a long time at the mine we finally headed back out, stopping on the way down to discuss the rest of our day. We still had daylight left and it was Niko's last day, so we wanted to do one more trail before calling it a night and heading back to Ouray. We went over to McMillan Peak to wrap up our long day of trails.