We'd had Minnehaha Basin on our "to do list" for at least a decade, and we were looking forward to finally seeing it. We did the loop on Gladstone Road and then headed in to see what we'd see.
The first thing we came to was an old building hanging off the side of the trail, probably one that was formerly part of Gladstone or the American Tunnel Mine operations. It looked like it was just going to slide off the side. We didn't get out to check things out as it looked pretty dangerous.
We headed uphill and soon popped out of the trees. Our first destination was Minnehaha Basin, and it was gorgeous. We found ourselves at a really nice Lead Carbonate Mill, and we snapped a lot of photos. There were houses in the basin, and we were jealous of the people who lived there.
Then we went up to the other side and found a cabin under construction with few walls, and at least two marmots lived there. It was pretty cool to see them running around the structure. The trail turned from a well-maintained one to a narrow, little-used track once we passed new housing development work, and we stopped to consider it. Far along the spur, we saw an area that looked like it had a rock slide over it. Niko wanted to go check it out, so he went ahead while Walt and Monica stayed back. Niko made it through the area where it looked destroyed (it wasn't) and found a turnaround above the Gold King Mine. We thought about joining him, but then the rest of us felt lazy so we waited for him to come back before heading back downhill.
We went to the Minnehaha Mine next, and that was pretty cool. We parked above it, and talked about the "For Sale" sign next to it. How awesome would it be to own a mine? It was in great shape, and the views were spectacular. We dreamed about it a little before heading back down to check out the last spur.
We thought we'd get into the valley and the Black Hawk Mine, but it was gated off. We ended up just turning around in the trail to head back to the main trail and out. This was a pretty scenic trail, and we enjoyed it.