Shawangunk Lead Mine

Posted: October 28, 2011 in Rock collecting
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It was early spring and I had the itch to do some prospecting. I had been surfing the web all winter and I came across this mine, the Shawangunk lead mine also known as the Mamakating lead mine, this place is not far from home near Wurtsboro NY. I had asked my wife Doris if she would be interested in going to check it out with me. I told her that it would be a somewhat strenuous hike up a mountain and that I was not quite sure the exact location and that we had to find it, she said yes. We put our son on the school bus, packed a lunch and we were off. We parked at the VFW which is an old rail road depot and we hiked down the old rail bed this is all state land, the tracks are long since gone. We hiked down this for almost a mile until we came to a road to the right that goes up the mountain. It was the second road which we should have taken the first road we came to. We followed this road and it split, I chose the wrong way so we back tracked to the split and took the other road. It was a beautiful day, the sun shone brightly it was a great day for a hike and we were glad to be out of the house. It took us about two hours to reach the mine adit. When we arrived we sat down on a large rock with a spectacular view of the valley below overlooking the Wurtsboro air port. After we finished our lunch we explored the site, the adit had been filled in so that people can not enter the shaft. On the side of safety it is a good idea to stay out of old mines for they tend to be unstable. This particular shaft has probably not been worked for over 100 years. Stay out, stay alive, keep that in mind while visiting old mines. There was a huge tailing pile, so I pulled out my rock hammer and went to work while Doris gave the metal detector a try. This is what you can find at this site: Galena; Sphalerite ;Quartz; Pyrite; Chalcopyrite; Muscovite. We easily found all of these specimens. I had read in a geological report that this mine also contained small amounts of silver and minute amounts of gold. I have some specimens that may contain gold, I don’t know yet I have to crush the rock and then pan it, I am saving that for a winter project to help stave off the gold fever.

For more information on this mine go to

  1. agen sbobet says:

    Good write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s site, maintain up the nice operate, and It’s going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

  2. Ron Vassallo says:

    If you would like to learn more about the St. Nicholas Zinc Mine and how it operated we are having an event at the O&W Mamakating Depot on September 8th 2012 and a PowerPoint presentation will be given showing exactly how the iron ore was processed. It will also detail the operations of the New York Ontario & Western Railway between the mine and the Highview Tunnel under Rt. 17.

  3. Blackie says:

    Found the mine entrance’s today 4-24-13. actually found four of them and all can be accessed. I plane on going in as soon as possible as I hear they are going to be dozed in again. Very excited.

    • Just a warning: it is very dangerous to enter abandon mines There can be lethal gases present and cave-ins are eminent. You definitely don’t want to be inside when they doze it.

      • Jason says:

        Anyone been up recently? I hear they’ve restricted access due to lead contamination? If this is true is there really anyone that enforces the restriction??

      • Jason I have heard the same thing, and I was wondering the same thing. That is something I want to investigate. I want to know why they would restrict the area. If you find out anything let us know.

      • Jason says:

        Went there today. The road in now blocked about half a mile in by a tree across the road. Took the first road on the rite about .8 miles past the vfw and went to the top. No one bothered us the whole time but did run into lead contamination warning signs and restricted area signs. Love the spot! Found samples of galena, quartz, pyrite, chalcopyrite and sphalerite. I was told that I would be able to find lots of crystal heads ranging 3-6″ long but found none? I only went to the top mine and wasn’t sure how to get to the other spots? Any help with either of those?

  4. Jason, in my opinion the upper mine is the best, I didn’t find any crystal points that long I found some that were about 1/2″ long. I am not exactly sure but if you come in on that RR bed there is a path that goes down the mountain I think that may lead to the lower mine. The way I took was a road off of rt 209 which was next to Kohls warehouse, cross the little bridge and there is parking right next to it. There are a couple of houses there walk down the road in front of them and you are on the trail I believe it is the old D&H Canal tow path the lower mine is not more than a mile possibly less on the right, look for a clearing in the woods. I hear the State is going to clean up that whole site, it may take them years to get around to it who knows.

    • Jason says:

      Nice, thanks for the directions. Must be nice to have that place as one of your local spots. We had to drive 2 hours from PA to get there. Since your a local, is there any other spots in that area that you suggest I try out? I’d love to come out there and camp for a few days and hit multiple spots since its such a drive.

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