While on vacation at my daughter’s home for Thanksgiving, I was looking for some interesting possibilities to run/hike/walk. One that drew my attention was the El Paso Tin Mines. This is apparently the only tin mines in the United States.
The hike is about 6.5 miles round trip. I ended up at 8 miles due to exploring and missing one turn-off.
From a distance you can see some grates on the mountain side that cover up the upper tin mines. The route for the most part is relatively easy until you get to the path to the upper tin mines. Luckily – it was right across from the lower tin mine grating. I have to admit is was weird to lay on grates (or walk on them) and look down and realize how deep they go into the ground. Thank heavens for solid grating.
I had some free time, so decided to climb up to the upper mines. This part worried me a little bit because it was steep with lots of loose gravel and stone. I had a race to run the next weekend and really didn’t want to end up as carrion fodder in the foothills of El Paso.
It was worth hiking to the upper mine. It took me about 10 minutes to do the uphill – the only time on this adventure I had to stop to catch my breath. Once I got to the top I walked across the grating to explore more. One review I read mentioned it was a shame no one could go into the mine. Another review mentioned to take a light and jacket to go into the mine. Somehow I believed the latter option and did bring my headlamp and a long sleeved shirt. Once I got to the lower portion of the grate, I dropped off a small rock wall and found that there was indeed a way to get into the mine. They carefully blocked off any areas people might be dumb enough to challenge. I went in about 5 turns, but then got freaked out about being in a mine in the middle of nowhere when I hadn’t seen anyone in a while. Who knows what axe murderer might be lurking in there? Some day I will drag my daughter or son-in-law along so I can go in farther.
At this point in time I had to figure out how to make it back down the hill without becoming roadkill. I did a lot of butt sliding and upside down insect impersonations on the way down. I also did a really nice 520 log roll when I slipped one time. Only ended up with several bruises and scrapes (phew).
I highly recommend this hike to anyone in the El Paso area.