The high Sierra Nevada is well known for its outstanding scenery, but it seems an improbable setting for mining rushes. However, it seems more reasonable considering the Mother Lode deposits were eroded from the Sierra. And in fact, metamorphic rocks which occur mostly on the eastern side of the Sierra, host several precious metal deposits that led to mining booms in the late 1800s.
Several of these deposits occur in spectacular Lundy Canyon, which drains eastward from the Sierra Nevada just east of what is now Yosemite National Park. In the early 1880s, several mines in the canyon formed the basis of the town of Lundy. One of the largest mines, and certainly the longest-lived and best-preserved, was the May Lundy Mine, located in Lake Canyon.
Like the other mines in Lundy, it was a gold producer in the early 1880s, but it also underwent some further revivals. It was active in the 1890s up to about 1915, and then again in the mid-1930s until gold mining was shut down in 1942.
The mine site itself now lies within the Hoover Wilderness Area.
Know Before You Go
Lundy Canyon is off to the west of US-395 about 7.4 miles north of the intersection of California State Route 120, the Tioga Pass Road, just south of Lee Vining. Turn left on Lundy Lake Road (which comes into US-395 opposite California SR-167) and go 3.5 miles. Then take a shallow left onto Lundy Dam road; this turn may have an inconspicuous sign. Proceed 0.3 miles to the trailhead at the south side of Lundy Dam.
The trail to the May Lundy Mine climbs up across the slope to the left. It is the original wagon road to the mine, built in 1880-1, but it has been closed to vehicle traffic since the 1970s.
After about 1.5 miles and climbing about 900 feet, the trail turns left into Lake Canyon. It is now another 1.7 miles to the May Lundy Mine, at an altitude of about 9500 feet. Just before the mine, you enter the Hoover Wilderness Area. The trail is open to dogs under restraint.
The trail is about 3.2 miles one-way with some 1700 feet of altitude gain, so the hike can be strenuous. Be sure also to allow extra time and effort to explore the vicinity, including the ruins around the mine. In particular, continuing another quarter mile to attractive Oneida Lake is a worthwhile side trip.
Please remember that all ruins and artifacts have historical value and are protected. Attempting to enter the mine is also extremely hazardous.
The former townsite of Lundy itself is on the west side of Lundy Lake and is now mostly covered by recreational facilities. To get there stay on Lundy Lake Road and go past the lake. Continue to the end of the road to reach a trailhead accessing upper Lundy Canyon.