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Vermiculite Mine Site
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Gold Butte National Monument

Main trench at Vermiculite Mine (view S)

Overview

Vermiculite Mine is an open pit mine consisting of one large trench and several old roads that lead to numerous prospecting scrapes. A fair bit of time, effort, and money were put into this mine, but it was not successful. There once was a cabin here, but it is completely gone, except perhaps for a pair of stone-encrusted ornamental concrete blocks that may have been entry-way stones. There is a seep that supports several cottonwood trees.

What makes the area interesting is the rusting equipment lying about in various states of disrepair. When visiting the site, please look but don't disturb these items of historic interest. They date only from the 1940s, but they are part of the history of this land and can not be replaced.

Vermiculite is a clay mineral used for insulation in high-temperature situations, as a soil amendment in gardens, and as an inert absorbent material.

Link to map.

Vermiculite Mine
Main trench at Vermiculite Mine (view N)

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ... this place is fairly safe, but watch for sharp edges and rusting nails.

This is wild and remote country without services of any kind (no restrooms, no water, no gas, no food). Bring what you need to survive. Be prepared and be self-reliant. It is a big place and someone will find you eventually if you stay on a main road, but be prepared to survive alone for a day or two, or even longer on side roads.

While out here, please respect the land and the other people out there, and try to Leave No Trace of your passage. Also, this is a remote hike, so be sure to bring the 10 Essentials.

Be sure to bring trash bags to clean up after people who care less about wild places than we do, but only pick up new trash -- leave the historic junk in place.

Vermiculite Mine

Getting to Vermiculite Mine

Vermiculite Mine is located out in Gold Butte National Monument at the northeast end of Lake Mead, about 3 hours northeast of Las Vegas in a wild, remote, and scenic area.

From town, drive out the paved Gold Butte Road 21 miles to Whitney Pocket. Continue south on the unpaved Gold Butte Road for 17.9 miles to Vermiculite Mine Road, on the left. Watch for "designated road" signs.

Drive south, southeast on Vermiculite Mine Road for 1.0 miles to the mine site, on the right. Equipment is scattered here and along the road for the next 200 yards or so. The Mica Peak trailhead (Site 1697) is just beyond the main mine site near the seep and cottonwood trees.

Vermiculite Mine

Vermiculite Mine

Rox Whitmore married Della Gentry, and with Laura Gentry (Sam Gentry's daughters; all of whom were pioneer figures) owned Vermiculite Mine and had a cabin near the mine works (The Nevadan, March 28, 1971).

Vermiculite was mined here in the 1940s, and several carloads of unprocessed vermiculite were shipped beginning in 1942. A 25-ton-per day mill was completed in 1945; however, the production rate was no more than 5 short tons per day, and the operation soon ceased. A small open pit remains, along with several bulldozed trenches, but there was no sign of the mill in 2005. The size of the pit and tailings indicates that no more than a few hundred tons of vermiculite concentrate was produced (Ludington et al. 2006. Mineral Resource Assessment of Selected Areas in Clark and Nye Counties, Nevada. U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2006-5197, Chapter C).

Vermiculite Mine
Stone-encrusted ornamental concrete block
Vermiculite Mine
Stone-encrusted ornamental concrete block
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine
Vermiculite Mine Vermiculite Mine

Table 1. Highway Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Latitude (N) Longitude (W) Elevation (ft) Point-to-Point Distance (mi) Cumulative Distance (mi)
1697 Vermiculite Mine Road at Mica Peak Trailhead 36.28548 114.15740 4,029 1.09 1.09

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 170702

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