Mercury Mine  
Maps:        
USGS 7.5' Map: Sawtooth Mountain
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 3 BLM 3169 7.72 8,750 to 9,840 ft. Rocky Hill 2-3 hours
County: Saguache
Adopted by:      
Managed by: BLM, Gunnison Field Office 650 South 11th Street, Gunnison, CO 81230 970-642-4940
Summary: The Mercury Mine Road connects a bunch of prospects along the west side of Cochetopa Canyon.
Attractions: Mining, Scenery
Seasonal
Closure:
Natural - closed by heavy snows.
Best Time: June- Best
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snows can close the road
Trail Heads
Accessed:
 
Camping: There are no dispersed camp sites along the Mercury Mine road.
Base Camp: This would not be a good area to base camp due to its difficult access.
Fall Colors: Poor - The area is open and mainly scattered pine forest.
Navigation: From Gunnison, CO. head east on US-50 E/E Tomichi Ave toward N Iowa Street. Continue to follow US-50 E for 8.1 miles. Turn right onto CO-114 E and go 17.5 miles. Just before the bridge turn left onto the Murcury Mine road.

From Saguache, CO. head west on CO-114 W/Gunnison Ave toward 9th Street. Continue to follow CO-114 W for 44.1 miles. Turn left onto the gravel road immediately after crossing the bridge.
History: At the Mercury-Alpine mine, Mercury was prospected for in 1937 from the cinnibar ore, mercuty sulfide. Later the Gunnison Mining CO. discovered Uranium in 1954 along the Los Ochos Fault, moving the empahis to uranium mining.
Description:
The Mercury Mine road leaves Hwy 114 after you enter the southern end of Cochetopa Canyon. Just past a bridge there will be a gravel road that drops down and follows along Cochetopa Creek, between it and a high ridge.
Mercury Mine road just off highway. Cochetopa Creek and Hwy 114 are left in picture

photo by:
Adam M

The road will leave the creek and head straight up a short cut in the ridge full of pine trees. This is the one obstacle on this road as the hill is a steep climb up loose rocks and small boulders.
Start of road up steep cut

photo by:
Adam M

After a quarter mile you will come to the top of the west side of Cochetopa Canyon. The road will be a two track that heads across an open sage brush area. The two track gets a bit faint in places. The first intersection you come to will be with a left that heads down into the Cochetopa Dome area where it ends at private property. Heading straight you will come to a four way intersection. The left heads down toward Alkali Creek, but also ends at private property. The right is the way to go for now. (We will return to this intersection to follow the straight on route later.) After o.27 miles you will come to another intersection. Take the right again and follow this road as it loops around a low hill and comes to the Mercury Mine.
Mercury Mine buildings

photo by:
Adam M

Mercury Mine looking north

photo by:
Adam M

Mercury Mine head frame

photo by:
Adam M

Mercury Mine shaft house. Head frame in front.

photo by:
Adam M

From the mine remains, head back to the last intersection. Take the right to follow the road to a fence line and another intersection. Take the right again to some shallow prospect holes. Here this spur will end. The roads back at the fence line intersection, that went left, will head into the trees and tie back into the main road. Head all the way back to the four way intersection and take the right which will head uphill toward the forest.
Road heading up into the forest

photo by:
Adam M

As the road enters the forest it will run along a short ridge and loop around a small meadow. The next intersection has a right that heads back out to the open area where the fenceline intersection was. Stay to the left and climb up a short hill into the forest. The road will head south then back northwest, crossing a small meadow. You will enter the forest again and then come out into a larger open area. There will be a spur road on the right that goes to some small prospect holes. Continuing on the main road you will enter the forest again and come out into another open area with another spur road to the right.
One of the open meadows

photo by:
Adam M

Once again the road heads into the trees. Next you will come to a T intersection. The road to the right will take you back to the fence line intersection. The left will come out to a large open area with views to the southwest. You will come to the last intersection. The right goes about 0.45 miles to a fence line where it ends. The road going over the hill out into the open area will come to a gate at a fence line in 0.15 miles. This is where you leave BLM administered land and enter the Forest Service lands. Past the fence the road becomes the Homeastead, FR854, road.
Data updated - November 28, 2019      4WD Road driven - September 1, 2019      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2020