At A Glance
TRAIL LENGTH: 4 miles, round-trip
ELEVATION GAIN: 1,550 feet
HIGH POINT: 4,200'
BEST TIME TO VISIT: late summer, early fall
POPULARITY: very little use
GOOD FOR: experienced mountaineers only
WATCH FOR: mines, off-trail navigation, rock scrambling, road conditions, no cell reception
FEES & PERMITS: Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass
NEAREST RANGER: Skykomish Ranger District Office
COORDINATES: N47° 41.603' W121° 31.121'
LOCATION: Located in King County, in Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, near the town of Index.
HIGHLIGHTS: mines and mining artifacts, spectacular views
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE: Apex was a productive gold mine, second only to the mines of Monte Cristo.
FROM HIGHWAY 2:
- Turn south onto NE Old Cascade Highway / Money Creek Campground exit
- Follow for about 1 mile
- Turn right onto Miller River Road
- Immediately turn right onto Money Creek Road / NF-6420
- Follow the road about 6.5 miles
- Go through two switchbacks
- go about another .75 miles
- Park in the wide area on the south side of the road
- Find narrow trail through trees in the SW section of the wide gravel area.
- Follow the trail about .25 miles.
- Look for the artifacts in a clearing to the left of the trail, just before Money Creek.
- Walk past large machine down to creek. Cross.
- Look for small footpath, just left of the trail on the opposite side of the creek.
- Continue on footpath to remains of puncheon corduroy road (wood road)
- Follow for .25 miles.
- On the left you will see a granite boulder pile, which is the remains of the mid tram site.
- Follow the trail about .26 miles as it steepens and moves from forest to open brush.
- The trail will bring you to an open rocky area, with creek crossing.
- Cross creek, continue up very narrow trail and steep footpath. Proceed slowly and cautiously.
- Over the next 200 feet, climb a small rock face followed by two very steep inclines.
- Arrive at the upper tram site.
- Proceed along flat ledge area, past a large, crushed culvert. Follow the trail about 300 feet to its end at another culvert and waterfall. This is the site of tunnel 4 (caved) and an exploratory tunnel.
- Go back to the crushed culvert. Climb short slope to the area of brush above the culvert.
- Scramble and bushwack about 800 feet through brush and rock slope up to cirque. Locate the remains of the mine bunkhouse on the northwest side of the lake.
- From the bunkhouse site, carefully climb about 500 feet up to tunnel 3. This tunnel's entrance is mostly caved, but can be located by level tailings pile in front.
- From tunnel 3, climb vertically about 200 feet. The entrance to tunnel 2 is just to the right of the stream.
- From tunnel 2, climb vertically another 100 feet to reach the entrance of tunnel 1.
Things to see:
- Lower Tram / Machine
- Log bridge remnants
- Puncheon corduroy road
- Mid tram site
- Upper tram site
- Tunnel no. 4 (caved) & timber cribbing
- Exploratory tunnel
- Bunkhouse site
- Tunnel No. 3 (partially caved)
- Tunnel No. 2
- Tunnel No. 1
Researching primary materials is just as exciting as finding the actual places where the history took place, but it's a slow and challenging process. Exploring History in Your Hiking Boots will be including gems below as we find them.
From: Mining in the Pacific Northwest
By L.K. Hodges, Seattle Post Intelligencer, 1897
Courtesy Skykomish Historical Society
The series of mineral ledges which is exposed at the head of Miller River, and in the mountains through which it flows, extends beyond the sources of Money Creek through the ridge dividing the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Watersheds, the Tolt flowing southward into the latter river from a point whence Money Creek flows northward into the Skykomish. The mineral discoveries extend along the mountains on each bank of Money Creek, having begun with the Apex ledge of galena, grey copper and sulphurides on the headwaters by Alexander McCartney in 1889. Further down the stream and on the tributaries which leap down precipitous gorges, there are great bodies of sulphide ore carrying gold and copper, which from the proximity to the railroad are likely to be early developed. The route from Seattle is by the Great Northern Railroad to Skykomish, eighty-five miles, by road one mile, and by trail six miles, to the head of the creek. The distance from the Everett smelter is fifty-two miles; from that at Tacoma, ninety-three miles. Communication will be much improved this season by construction of a wagon road up the creek within a short distance of the most remote properties.
The first discovery was also the first property to be developed and ship ore. This was the Apex group of five claims, recently bonded by Alexander McCartney, G.R. Procter, Edwin Stevens, and Miss Fanny Stein to J. R. Stephens, of Spokane, for $20,000. Four of these claims are on one ledge, which crops in the gorge of Milwaukee Creek between syenite walls and has been traced up the mountain and over the summer to Lake Elizabeth. At one point in the gorge it crops forty feet wide and at another thirteen feet wide, but the richest ore is found on the side of the Milwaukee Basin 700 feet above, where the ledge is three to five feet wide between strong walls. It has been opened at the latter point by means of two tunnels, the upper 118 feet and the lower 300 feet, with a lift of seventy feet between them. The lower tunnel was driven forty feet through the slide rock and cut three ore chutes, each about 40 feet long with a six inch pay streak of smelting ore. The third chute has been stoped out from the upper tunnel and for a lift of fifty feet from the lower tunnel, the ore being shipped to the smelter and returning an aggregate of over $13,000. It carried about 2 ½ ounces gold, 6 ounces silver, and 4% copper, being steel galena, grey copper, sulfides of iron and arsenical iron. The other two chutes carry $43 and $46, respectively, in gold, and silver and have in sight over $15,000 worth of smelting ore. Beside the pay streak is a streak of concentrating ore from six to forty inches wide assaying about $12 a ton. There are several hundred tons of second-grade ore on the dump. The ore shipped has paid for development in the face of a cost of $13 a ton for packing and seven and one-half miles of railroad.
The same parties have the Damon and Pythias on a four-foot ledge of similar ore, and on Goat Basin; four miles above the mouth of Money Creek, they have the Sockless and Solomon on a ledge seven or eight feet wide, with twenty inches of high grade ore similar to Apex, which assays $17 to $60 in gold, silver and lead, chiefly gold. A forty foot tunnel on the ledge shows good ore all the way.