Just inside the entrance of the tunnel

After work one day I was looking for somewhere to do a little hike. I identified that the nearby Black Mountain had potential. As I got close and onto some gravel roads, I noticed a sign for the Schmidt Burro Tunnel. That seemed interesting. Since it was the same direction as parking for the hike, I kept it in mind. As the road wound up the mountain and I got a glimpse of the peak I decided that the tunnel sounded more interesting.

Is this guy for real?

After passing some abandoned buildings and myriad crisscrossing paths I found the entrance. A sign posted outside sealed the deal. In the early 1900s our friend Mr. Schmidt spend 38 years hand digging a tunnel straight through a mountain to increase the efficiency of his mining operation. This was definitely worth inspection.

Looking back at the entrance

This isn’t the first time I’ve ventured alone into a questionable mine-shaft completely unprepared (no flashlight etc…). It usually starts with a tentative creep into the entrance, followed by a retreat and some heavy breathing. You just never know what the air quality is going to be like in one of these places. Then a second attempt, going a bit further. If I was a pack of wolves, why not live in a place like that? Eventually the courage is worked up enough to go for glory. So by the light of the iPhone I venture forth.

Main entrance to the tunnel

Not too far from the entrance there is an extremely creepy looking storage area and old rail-car track. Further into the 1/2 mile long tunnel there is a T-junction and when looking to the right, daylight can be seen. Eventually you come out on the other side of the mountain as advertised. The view is incredible southward over the desert.

Creepy storage room

The return journey is amazing. Having done it already and without the pressure of possible death, the walk is quite pleasant.

View from the other side of the mountain end of the tunnel