Perched above the Lippincott Road in Saline Valley, unknown to most travelers below, is the nearly forgotten Inyo Copper Mine.
Once owned by the Inyo Copper Mines and Smelter Company in the early 1900s, ore ranging from 4% to 41% copper was discovered here. The rich ore must have been limited to the surface as the mine was never developed beyond a few prospects and shafts. The disappointing ore bodies and the Bank Panic of 1907 probably put an end to work on the mine at the time. By 1917, the camp was listed as idle.
A few remnants of the old mining camp still exist. Five tent cabin sites, each with its own share of wooden debris and cans, are scattered about the area. I found a bit of canvas from one of the tent cabins, still here after all these years, under a creosote bush.
There is a blacksmith's anvil stump in one of the cabin sites, so that must have been a workshop. A wooden hand windlass rests near the edge of the cliff. This was a fun little spot to explore.
Near the camp is a small dugout with a wooden door. It was used as storage for the miners. Inside are a few old boxes. On the wall is a scratched inscription by Death Valley Curly dated Jan 25, 1947. He was a well-known prospector at the time. (See also the S & O Cabin). Finding the inscription made my day. The dugout isn't on my map, but it isn't hard to find if you explore around a bit. Reaching it will be a little tricky, though.
Please leave everything here for future explorers to discover.