American Girl Mine

 Sing with us now; “working in a gold mine, goin’ down down down…”


Inside the Cargo Muchacho’s Mountain Range there lies a ton of history, ghost stories and still plenty of GOLD! This sought after treasure was found in the American Girl Mine, just west of Yuma, AZ (and near recently visited Tumco).  The American Girl Mine was one of the biggest payout locations having produced 205,000 tons of ore up until 1930. It was purchased again in 1989 and ran for another 10 years (rumor has it, it’s for sale again too….come to think of it, a gold mine would make a good gift)!

We spent some time dry camping right in the middle of this massive (old) mining area. We were completely surrounded by mines, prospecting holes, remnants of old mining life, the most breath taking sunsets and did I mention the mines??

Our days were spent, hiking, hunting, exploring and peering down into 300+ foot mine shafts and imagining what life would have been like “back in the day”. Not only did we find our fair share of excitement, but we also found our own little treasures in the form of Kyanite. These amazing rocks, found in the Imperial Valley, are dark on the outside and the most brilliant teal/aqua color inside. We had a field day spotting the glistening teal “gems” everywhere around our camp spot. We also found an old miner’s cook pan and another desert guardian. We’ve included a “Where’s the Guardian” photo below. Try and spot him with the naked eye, then look at the next picture to see him illuminate against the black light! Although not very friendly, he sure was photogenic.

Another incredible slice of history has been explored and conquered! ~ Happy Prospecting ~


Welded bars keep “prospectors” out of this massive mine entrance in American Girl Mining Area


Our own little miner’s camp!
Off-Roading on back roads – The white lines are quartz veins running through the mountains


After further research, this mine appears to go down about 350ft with no end in sight. Check out the various rainbow colors running through these rocks


To give you a sense of what you’re looking at, this is a vertical shot looking straight down into the depths of a 650ft mine shaft. The wood beam supports still remain along with the precarious side ladder. This was the most fascinating example of what a real mine shaft looked like! Want to see more of this mine, some professional explorers went inside–here is the link to their exploration/photos:


“Where’s The Guardian?”
We’re sure this guy packs a big punch in a small body


Peering down into a collapsed mine shaft at the Cargo Mine location. We could see debris and rusted remnants below us


We were camped near the remains of this old ore chute


Back at our camp, we enjoyed panoramic views and God’s idea of artwork in the form of this picture perfect sunset (not retouched)


The remains of the deserted “Cargo Mine”. Little one is standing in a hole that looks more like a drained pool that sat just outside the entrance to the Cargo Mine shaft (the one that’s 650ft down).


The many layers of tailings on the outskirts of the American Girl Mine Open Pit


The matching explorers are standing above this massive Open Mine Pit. It looks like a lake in the middle of nowhere


We ventured inside this shallow prospecting hole and looked back towards daylight. When mining, remember to always “go towards the light”!



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