Granite Mine Ruins, Prince William Sound

In the early 1900s, nearly 25,000 ounces of gold were extracted from Granite Mine, making it one of the more productive in Prince William Sound. From our anchorage in Bettles Bay (Bing/Google map), we ran the dinghy north to five miles north to Hobo Bay to hike to the mine ruins.

The trail led for a mile across open bog, with nice views into Bettles Bay at the start and across a tidal lagoon into Port Wells on the other side.

Then we picked up the old corduroy road to the mine and started seeing ruins–scattered equipment, collapsed buildings with an old fridge full of rusty tin cans, and even an old shoe. One piece of equipment read “Joshua Hendy Ironworks S.F. CA”. (Corduroy roads, with closely-spaced crosslogs, were built over boggy ground so animals and equipment would not sink in.


The stamp mill, where rocks were crushed to extract the gold, was about a half-mile down the corduroy road. It has collapsed a lot since Lethcoe’s photograph, but the massive beams supporting the crushers still stand on their concrete footings.


Another half-mile along the road, we found a mine shaft. A drill machine stood along the tracks a short distance in front of the opening. Hydrualic hoses, fittings and various pieces of equipment littered the ground around it.


Trail notes: Land on the sloping black shale beach in the northeast corner of the Hobo Bay, directly north of the buoy charted on 16711 (we didn’t see it), where several stumps stand in a creek delta. The trail isn’t visible from the water, but is obvious just south of the creek once you are ashore. The trail runs northeast for a mile across the bog, just east of where the woods thicken and the land slopes upwards. Once you can see the tidal lagoon, the trail continues northwest along the east side of the alder line to a collapsed building, then the corduroy road runs northeast for about a half-mile to the stamp mill. The mine shaft is another half-mile beyond, atop a stable rock pile. Wear waterproof footwear. The trail, particularly the first mile through the bog, is soggy. Note: Lethcoe says the mine is a half-mile walk from Hobo Bay, but it’s actually about 1.5 miles to the stamp mill and another half-mile to the mine shaft.

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10 comments on “Granite Mine Ruins, Prince William Sound
  1. Ed Brenner says:

    I worked in that mine in 1963 and 1964

    • Cool. It’s a beautiful area to live and work.

    • Kelly says:

      Hello Ed it is very interring to me to hear from someone that had worked in the mine. I would love an opportunity to chat with you about it. me and a friend are considering some recreational mine in the area, and would like you ideas of it. Kelly Hawg 907-355-5834

    • Wade E, Wariner says:

      Interested in any info I can find out concerning the mine. A partial owner owes me some $ and curious if I should think of taking a share for payment. I’m a placer miner but lost in the hard rock area. I’m a born and raised territorial pioneer and thought it would be a nice place to get away from it all, plus it seems like I might give it a go while I’m at it and see if I could support myself.

      • There is no question that it would be a beautiful place to live but, on whether the mine could support you, we have no data other than knowing the mine was successful and productive but eventually shut down. Normally this means the gold at the site that could be economically extracted had been. It would take a substantial investment in equipment to restart the mine so you wouldn’t want to do that without confidence there was gold on the site that could be economically recovered using modern gold mining techniques.

  2. S’vana Wagner says:

    Can you still get in that hobo bay mine?

    • The Granite Mine was blocked at the entry, so we couldn’t actually go into the mine itself it when we visited. It seems unlikely that entry to the site itself is now prohibited, but we were last there in 2011, so things might have changed.

  3. Jim Evans says:

    Have a safe trip and again thanks for letting us follow along with your adventures.


  4. We had a great time in Valdez and, overall, the PWS trip is amazing. I can see why you like the area. We’ve spent nights anchored at the foot of glaciers, some anchored at the base of waterfalls, we’ve seen more wildlife than any trip we’ve ever done and we’re having a ball. Sorry we didn’t catch up but it sounds like you were out enjoying natures yourself.

    We’re now all fueled up and enjoying our last week here before running south back to work.

    –James Hamilton

  5. Jim Evans says:

    Sorry that I missed seeing you guys this past weekend. I tried calling on the radio a few times, but after getting back to where I could access the internet and your home page, it turns out you were just accross from me climbing on Glacer Island. I was on the East side of Bligh Island fishing, oh well next, time. Again, I am glad you made it up to PWS, it is an area I get to experiance every othe weekend. Just have to wait a bit longer until I have my Nordhavn to go further!

    Jim Evans

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