If you are into abandoned places, history, old mines, geology, or rockhounding then this is an easily-accessed location for an interesting day trip from Seattle. Historically associated with the Twisp Mining District, which is now part of the Okanogan National Forest, Alder Mine contains the remnants of a mining operation that dates back to the late 19th century.
Though the early history of this mine is not well documented, the property was acquired by the Alder Group Mining and Smelting Co. in 1903. Alder Mine was active off and on from about 1910 to 1953. During that time, miners extracted about 35,000 ounces of combined gold and silver, approximately 1.3 million pounds of copper, and 686,000 pounds of combined lead and zinc.
The colors of the geology in the open pit to the bottom are really interesting, especially for rock hounds. At the very top of the open pit, it’s worth going up over and around the backside of the formation and down to the bottom where you will find the remnants of old adits (tunnels) that are about six to eight feet long with remaining timbering. (WARNING: Don’t go in any tunnels, including this one, as they can have a lack of oxygen and deep drops underfoot, both of which can be extremely dangerous.)
Explore using the three trails that enter from the right side when facing the mine, which allow you to access the three main levels for exploring. There is lots of copper green staining from the water seeping out of now collapsed adits. Scattered around the site you’ll find old wood, metal wiring, ore cart tracks, and more laying in the side of the steep hill.
Know Before You Go
The mine can be reached by following the Lookout Mountain road (USFS Road 200) southwest of Twisp for about 6 miles to an elevation of 3,400 feet. The mine is visible to the east of Alder Creek from the road.