Mining in the Warren Area

The Rescue Mine

The Rescue Mine Entrance

There are currently two mines operating in the Warren Area, the Rescue and Charity. Mining is a dangerous activity. Please make sure you have permission before entering a mine. That heavy equipment is big and loud. You may be all but invisible to the operator. It's a long ways to the nearest hospital from here. Beware of bats!

There are many dangers in and around abandoned mines. Great care should be taken when exploring any of the old mining sites. Hazards could include deep mine shafts, cave-ins, bad air in tunnels and decaying timbers.

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In 1862, prospector James Warren discovered gold on what is now known as Warren Creek. News of the discovery spread quickly after Warren returned to Lewiston and reported his findings. People from all over flocked to Warren to stake mining claims. You can see the remnants of miles of ditches dug to carry water to the diggers.

When the Warren Mining District was organize in 1862 there was an exclusionary policy among the Euroamerican miners that prevented Chinese immigrants from working mining claims. However, a few Chinese arrived in Warren shortly after the discovery of the area's placer gold. Many of them raised vegetables down towards the South Fork of the Salmon River to sell to the miners. You can see remnants of their terraced gardens and homes near Hays Station

Hayes Station
Hayes Station

In 1869, after the Euroamerican miners had taken most of the easily recovered gold out of the placer claims they began selling and leasing their claims to the Chinese. Between 1870 and 1900 Chinese miners reworked existing claims and placer mined new mineral-rich ground in the Warren area. Chinese placer mimers used labor intensive methods to extract gold nuggets and flour gold. It is estimated that from 1862 to 1935 the Warren Mining District produced approximately $15,000,000 in placer gold.


Much of the valley was dug up by gold dredges. The floating dredges chewed up the ground as they worked their way back and forth over the flat. When National Geographic visited the area in 1939 three dredges and a quartz mine were operating 24 hours a day. Dredging ended in 1956. You can find the remains of the last of the dredges in the area northeast of the bridge across Warren Creek. I'll take a picture for you when the water goes down enough to make driving back there safe.

We are looking for a the perfect old-time miner to put on our web page. If you think you are this person, come to Warren the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. We have the gold pans. The winner of this contest will be our "poster boy". Judging will start at 1 PM in front of the Winter Inn. "Authentic" attire and beards may help. Buying the judges a drink may help even more.

If your pictures are better than mine, please feel free to send them to me for inclusion on our web page. Make sure you give me your name so I can give you credit for your contribution. With so much to do in the area, I'm sure I've left something out. If you don't see your favorite activity listed or your favorite place to visit, please let me know. Send your ideas, pictures and comments to