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.
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.
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
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.
Continue on EP15 for 2.7 miles and then take FS-103 road that leads to the Burro Schmidt Tunnel.
If you are in the area visit Red Rock Canyon State Park. Read more at our other post.
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THERE IS LOT TO EXPLORE. KEEP EXPLORING