Barron Ghost Town

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07/21/2020 - It would seem that since this article has been published, virtually all of the structures at Barron have been demolished. I would be very interested to hear from the author, though, to compare notes and see if I might have seen more if I’d ventured up the right side road (there are several). For now, this is what I gleaned from my visit:

  • You likely will be without cell reception from about the time you leave Mazama (which is itself the only reception around for miles; the closest you will get from Mazama is in Winthrop 10 miles to the east).
  • Only the first 6-7 miles from Mazama are paved; once the pavement stops you will at times encounter deep potholes. Occasionally it is only a single lane with a sharp drop-off on one side. If you meet someone, courtesy dictates the one who is likely closest to a wider section put it in reverse and back up so you may both safely pass one another. I did see sedans on this section, so it can be done if you are cautious. The last 3 miles after the Hart’s Pass campground & station get even rockier and rougher; high clearance is advisable there.
  • DO NOT BLOCK THE GATE. The best spot to park to avoid blocking any roadways is about 1/4-mile farther down the road at the wide berth outside the switchback. I walked from here and it ended up being about 3 miles round-trip. It is a steady uphill walk to Barron, but it is not steep at all as it is a drivable road.
  • Multiple signs indicated I was crossing onto private property; one noted a CB channel by which you could contact the residents. I do not have a radio, and as I had come this far, by the bifurcation of the age-old adage, I went with begging forgiveness as well as Winston Churchill’s observation that “there is no greater exhilaration in life than being shot at and missed.” I am looking into contact information for the property owner, which should be published here — and if their wishes are to have no visitors, that should be published as well.
  • Having said that…once I arrived on the site, other signs indicated it is still an active mining claim. Modern and frequent human activity was abundantly evident: a flattened tent, functional generators and a propane grill, neatly-stacked chairs. I cannot speak to what will happen on the spectrum of a friendly conversation, a finger-wagging, prosecution, or getting shot at.
  • Aside from some piles of old planks and occasional remnants of rusted equipment, I found very little left of Barron.
  • Topo maps indicate that another 1/2-mile down the road from the switchback where I parked are “ruins.” I drove down and observed nothing outside a beautiful stream. However I did not venture off the road at this location on the very real possibility that said ruins could be an old mining site; including unmarked open shafts. I am not one for exploring abandoned mines besides; there are things worth dying for, but standing in a dark human-made tunnel ain’t one of ‘em to my mind. In the vicinity of the ghost town I did come across a couple open shafts, but I will not reveal their locations for aforementioned reasons.

To elaborate on my initial comment, I heard back from the supervisor of the mining district via email. He was extremely helpful and informative. Here is what he had to say:

"Barron is on private (patented) mining property. It is behind a locked gate but accessible on foot. Not too far to hike. We keep it locked because in the past vandals have destroyed equipment and vandalized our cabins. Now we are watchful.

At the gate it is less than a mile to the first part of Barron. The old mess hall/bunkhouse for the Mammoth mine was on the left. There are miners camped at the flat spot. Way up the hill to the right is the Mammoth portal, caved in now.

Farther up the road, another road leads to the left, to the Golden Arrow mine. This road crosses Bonita creek (do not go into that mine! Very unstable). Two cabins farther on, usually occupied.

Continuing back on the main road, another road leads off to the right. This to a private cabin.

Further on the main road, the remaining cabin from the Barron townsite is across the creek.

Next road to the right is another private cabin.

Following the road, across Bonita creek, up the hill, the old mill site is located. It has had several names in it’s history. Eureka, New Light, etc…

That is the end of Barron. Road continues up the hill, but nothing of interest there. Private cabins mostly."