Maggie Gulch  
USGS 7.5' Map: Howardsville
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 2 BLM3116, CR23 5.10 9,765 to 11,840 ft. NA 1-2 hours
County: San Juan
Adopted by:      
Managed by: BLM, Tres Rios Field Office
San Juan County
29211 Highway 184, Dolores, Colorado 81323
1557 Greene St, Silverton, CO 81433
Summary: Maggie Gulch has a waterfall and a few mine remains to view.
Attractions: History, Mining
Natural - Closed by heavy snows.
Best Time: June - May still be snowed in
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snows possible
Trail Heads
Continental Divide National Scenic Trail - Hiking
Crystal Lake Trail - Hiking
Camping: There is a dispersed site at the start of the Maggie Gulch 4WD road.
Base Camp: This area would be a good place to base camp. There are many scenic 4WD roads and ghost towns in the area.
Fall Colors: Poor - Mainly pine forest and tundra.
Navigation: From Silverton, CO. head northeast on Greene Street toward E 13th Street for 0.3 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 2 and go 5.9 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 23, Maggie Gulch 4WD road.
History: Middleton started when Oliver and Frank Gorsage built cabins at the mouth of Maggie Gulch and worked the Auburn, Charity Ann, Minnie, Silver Lead, and other newly discovered mines. Their camp attracted a mercantile, a dairy, and the Middleton Smelter. Middleton was never formally platted as a town. In 1900, a revival began in the Eureka mining district which developed the Hamlet Mine into one of the most important operations at Middleton. Samuel Dresback, an independent miner in Silverton, leased the Hamlet in 1900 and generated enough ore to prove the mine. James H. Robin purchased it in 1901. Robin developed the vein with several tunnels and built a mechanized surface plant. After three years he sold the mine to Colorado Springs investors in 1904 while the vein still offered ore. The new owners organized the Hamlet Mining & Milling Company and commissioned the Hamlet Mill at the mouth of Maggie Gulch. Charles Dale erected the facility in 1905, and it proved effective from the beginning. Manager William Lloyd drove a deep haulage tunnel known as Level No.6, or the Mill Level, to undercut the vein. For the next several years, the Hamlet remained in this highly profitable but incomplete state. In 1910 The Hamlet Mining & Milling Company sought a new manager after William Lloyd died. They hired the highly experienced Etienne A. Ritter. Ritter decided to develop the mine for long-term production and convinced the investors to fund extensive work underground. The campaign took two years and was highly successful.

The Ridgeway Mine was first worked in 1896. In 1901, Edmond C. Van Diest bought three particularly promising mines for which he secured backing from railroad operators in the east. He purchased the Ridgeway Mine in Maggie Gulch, on the eastern side of Galena Mountain. The Ridgeway was a sound acquisition because like the Hamlet, it lay on a bold vein not yet developed. In 1937, W.C. Service established the Ridgeway Gold Mining Company and leased the Ridgeway exclusively to recover low-grade ore from the old tailings. Service found that there was enough material to justify a tramway, which extended one mile to the road in Maggie Gulch. By 1938, Service ran out of waste rock and reopened the underground workings.

The Intersection Mine, first worked in the 1890's, proved to be a bonanza. The mine was reportedly named because two significant rock veins intersect there. In 1910, the Intersection Development Company discovered an untapped gold vein. The company installed a simple hoisting system and small mill, and enjoyed regular production for the next seven years. By limiting debt and the scale of the operation, the investors maximized their profits. After producing $177,000, the miners simply ran out of ore in 1917 and were unable to find more. The company closed the mine, which had already lasted longer and generated more profits than expected.

United States Department of the Interior, National Park Service Historic Mining Resources of San Juan County, Colorado NPS Form 10-900-b, Print.
Starting from Middleton you will turn onto County Road 23 and head up Maggie Gulch. Galena Mountain at 13,278 feet will be on your right, Middle Mountain at 12,964 feet will be on your left.

The road will head up a switchback that has a left turn to private property. Continuing on the County Road you will drive through the forest with Maggie Creek below you. Once out of the trees the road will cross an open section as you climb toward the waterfall from the upper basin.

Before the road climbs above the waterfall you will pass an intersection to the right that goes to the Ruby Mine. Only the tailings remain. Above the Ruby Mine was the tram line terminus for the Ridgeway Mine which was up on Galena Mountain. Nothing remains of the tram terminus either. The main county road will continue up above the waterfall and bring you into the upper basin.

From this point on you will be abover timberline. After about a mile and a half you will pass a left turn that heads back and up hill to the Little Maud Mine. Only the tailings remain here as well. After another half mile you will pass the intersection with the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, and then you will come to an intersection. The road to the right goes to the Intersection Mill remains in just under a half mile. The road leading to the Intersection Mill and Mine can be difficult in wet conditions.
Stamps at the Intersection Mill - 1991

photo by:
Adam M

Stamps at the Intersection Mill - 1991

photo by:
Adam M

At the turn around by the Intersection stamp mill is a foot trail goes off to the left which leads to the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

At the head of the gulch is Canby Mountain at 13,478 feet. On the other side of Canby Mountain is Stoney Pass.

Back at the intersection, the right turn will climb four switchbacks passing some mine remains before coming to the more modern mining remains of the Empire Mine.
Data updated - January 13, 2018     4WD Road driven - September 2, 1991     Copyright - 2000-2018