Burro Schmidt Tunnel: A half-mile long hand dig Tunnel

Burro Schmidt Tunnel

The tunnel is a half-mile long and was hand dug out by a miner/prospector William Henry “Burro” Schmidt. Burro started work on the tunnel in 1902 and continued working on it for more than three decades. Burrow only utilized hand tools to dig through solid granite and used wheelbarrow in the process of removing rubble.

It was a shortcut planned by Burro, but it leads to nowhere. The intent was to use the tunnel as a shortcut to carry/transport gold through the Copper mountain instead of climbing the hill to reach the market. It took 38 years to complete the tunnel, but there is no evidence that Burro ever transported any minerals through it.

Panorama Burro Schmidt Tunnel

Burro moved from Rhode Island and settled in the desert area with the intention of prospecting. Burro lived alone just minutes away from the entrance of the tunnel in his cabin. Usually, in the Summer months, Burro would work as a ranch hand, and at the arrival of fall, he would take his two burros (mules) Jack and Jenny and head back to the Copper Mountain and continue excavation. In the last part of his life, Burro left Copper Mountain and the Last Chance Canyon and lived in a nearby town.

Home of Burro Schmidt

It is a place full of the mystery of Burro Schmidt, and his determination to complete the tunnel he started years ago is unbelievable.

How to get there
Driving to Burro Tunnel

Drive on Highway 14 North for about 20 miles from Mojave, and then turn right at the fork on Redrock Randsburg Road. Red Rock Canyon State Park will be on your left. Continue for 11 miles to Mesquite Canyon Road, which is a dirt road. You will need a high clearance 4×4 vehicle.

BUrro Schmidt Tunnel

Continue on EP15 for 2.7 miles and then take FS-103 road that leads to the Burro Schmidt Tunnel.

Useful Links

If you are in the area visit Red Rock Canyon State Park. Read more at our other post.

Article: William ‘Burro’ Schmidt and His Tunnel to Nowhere – KCET

Thanks for visiting our blog. Please leave a comment if you find our post helpful, or if you have any questions or suggestions for us.



  1. Inderjit Grewal

    The sunset picture is just wow!!!!
    Hats off for his determination A visit to such a place is a thanks for him
    Great job Mr Burro

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *