Black Peak Mine

Diggings near the summit of Black Peak, east of Hillsboro, New Mexico, USA.

The summit area of Black Peak, northeast of Hillsboro, New Mexico, was extensively mined, as late as the early 1950’s.  Most of the trenching and other mining is now caved but beams are still easily found along the eastern edge of the peak (photos above and below).

As you travel up the road to the summit area there are numerous trenching sites, road off-shoots, and leveled places for equipment, sheds, or cabins - see photo below.  The walk from NM-152 to Black Peak, up North Wicks Canyon, offers several mining road and overland variations.

George T. Harley, in The Geology and Ore Deposits of Sierra County, New Mexico describes the reason for the interest in this area: “The original discovery of placer gold is said to have been made in Wicks Gulch late in 1877. Wicks Gulch heads in a drainage basin of very small area on the southeast slope of the Animas Hills, and in a short time the source of the placer gold had been located in the Wicks vein, which can be traced along a dike from the highway leading into Hillsboro from Hot Springs, through to the south slope of Black Peak, where it disappears under the basalt capping of that hill. It is probable that workings on the north side of Black Peak are located on the same dike and fracture zone...Other old workings on this vein system (ed.: Wicks Canyon) include the Black Peak mine, opened by tunnels and shafts on the south slope of Black Peak.” (pp. 157-158)

It is not clear if the digging shown above from the south slope of Black Peak was an adit or trenching, in either case it is now caved and the yucca are in the process of obfuscating history.

In Bulletin 39, “The Metal Resources of New Mexico and Their Economic Features Through 1954” (State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, published in 1957) Eugene Carter Anderson states that “The Anderson Extension, Biglow, El Oro, Snake, Black Peak, and Portland properties were worked for short periods in 1950 and 1951. In 1952 the district produced 125 ounces of gold.” (p. 124) 

The mining road (photo below) which runs to close to the summit of Black Peak is becoming more obscure with time.

In “Mineral Belts in Western Sierra County, New Mexico...” Lovering and Heyl noted that “Outlying jasperoid samples, outside the main district, have been collected from the following localities:  “ outcrop on a north-northeast-trending range-front fault in a saddle at the western end of Black Peak ... Outcrop samples from the fault zone west of Black Peak, with silicified Fusselman Dolomite limestone to the west, consist of aphanitic grayish-red to medium-gray breccia fragments cemented by a matrix of fine- to medium-grained, locally vuggy, medium-dark-gray jasperoid, and the samples are slightly anomalous in silver (3 ppm), beryllium (2 ppm), and tungsten (50 ppm).” (pp. 13-14) 

North Wicks Canyon, looking south from Black Peak

Access to Black Peak is from the south, from NM-152, follow North Wicks Canyon northward until the road ends.  Photographs on this page were taken on August 5, 2016.

Looking southwest from just below the summit of Black Peak.  
Cooke’s Peak is on the skyline about a 1/3 of the way in from the left.

Looking northeast from the summit area of Black Peak.
Animas Peak is at the upper right, the diggings of the Copper Flat Mine are below it.

Looking northwest from the summit of Black Peak.

Summit of Black Peak 

Looking west from the summit of Black Peak, the Black Range along the skyline.

© Robert Barnes 2018