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August 28, 2004


A pleasant afternoon hike, breaking my drive to the Long Valley hot springs, at the beginning of my Whitney Weekend. An interesting new area to me just east of Tioga Pass. I followed the trail, or more properly the old wagon road, to the lower adit of the mine and Bennetteville, then followed the increasing faint trail up to Maul Pass, overlooking Maul Lake (which drains eastward to Lee Vining Creek. On the way back (mostly following the SW wall of the canyon, rather than the trail), though I didn't have time to complete it, I found what appears to be a spur trail up to the upper adit of the Great Sierra Mine atop the ridge, pretty steep, but easily followable.

Once back at the trailhead, I did a quick cleanup walk along the Glacier Canyon Trail to where we broke off from it coming down from Dana Plateau. Then on to some serious soaking at Shepherd's Spring.

Weather and Conditions

Sunny and pleasant, breezy and brisk at Maul Pass.

About 7 miles and 1500 feet of ascent in 3 hours, semi-loop. Bunnyhike rating = 37.


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Map of hike location and route detail maps, route in blue and red

Map with route
Detailed Map (195K)

Bennettville's Boom and Bust

(copied from the NFS sign at the Tioga Lake overlook)

The Rush Is On

In 1874, a young shepard came across a rusty pick and shovel. Next to them was an old tin can wedged in the rocks. The boy had re-discovered the "thundering big silver ledge" of Tioga Hill. The hill's rich silver vein drew a rush of miners and gave rise to the town of Bennettville.

A City of 50,000 People on Tioga Pass?

Bennettville was named for Thomas Bennett, Jr., president of the Great Sierra Silver Mining Company. Although the company boasted about the richness of the strike, Bennettville never reached its dream of becoming a city. The company spent $300,000 on the mining claim, yet it returned nothing to its shareholders.


(copied from the NFS sign posted on the Bunkhouse)

This is the site of a 19th century silver mining community. The Assay Offic (small building) and the Barn/Bunkhouse (large building) are all that remain of the original fourteen buildings. Much of the equipment for this mine was hauled here from the May Lundy Mine over Dore Pass. Though short-lived (1882-1884) this community was the primary reason for the construction of the Tioga Pass Road from the west.

The U. S. Forest Service and the State of California restored these structures to historic specifications during the summer of 1993. Please leave the doors and windows secured to avoid damage from the wind.

Please take only photos and memories - Leave only footprints
Thank you for your cooperation. U.S.F.S.

And the next two days:Dana - Gibbs Mt Dana, and Mount Whitney Whitney dawn

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Bennettville / Robert Parks / / revised July '05