At A Glance

TRAIL LENGTH: .75 miles, round-trip


HIGH POINT: 3,100'

BEST TIME TO VISIT: Spring to fall, winter with 4-wheel drive

POPULARITY: moderately used

GOOD FOR: kids

WATCH FOR: road conditions, no cell reception

FEES & PERMITS: Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful Pass

NEAREST RANGER: Skykomish Ranger District Office

COORDINATES:  N47° 41.857' W121° 31.623'

LOCATION: In King County, on Money Creek, the mine is part of the US Forest Service Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

HIGHLIGHTS: Historic abandoned  mine

HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE:  The Damon and Pythias Mine is mostly known for it’s neighbor, the Apex Mine. At one time there were plans to connect the two projects by underground tunnels. The claim was found in the 1890s and was worked sporadically from then through the 1960s.  The Damon and Pythias mine produced gold, silver, and lead.  

Driving Directions


  • 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 8 miles
  • Park at the end of the road

Trail Directions


  • Walk southwest to the two forks of the road that have been blocked
  • Take the left fork
  • Follow the old road (now trail) about 1000 feet
  • Turn left
  • Straight ahead is a large pile of tailings
  • Climb the mound to the mine entrance

Things to see:

  1. Vent hood
  2. Tailings and rail remnants
  3. Mine entrance



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.



date unknown (most likely 1939)

Report Courtesy Washington Department of Natural Resources

Adjoins the well-known Apex Gold Mine with an estimated production record close to $700,000.00, to the greater part by crude hand drill methods and is situated in N.E. end of King County, Washington, at the head of Money Creek at elevation of 2,480 feet. Is reached via good highway 56 miles out of Seattle, thence by 5.6 miles of excellent Min-to-Market road to within one mile of the property. The last mile to mine is part over good puncheon road on easy grade and skirts Lake Elizabeth, one-quarter mile from the mine. This latter portion of the road will be surfaced.  Yu can step out of your car right at the workings.  The holdings consist of 17 full-size lode claims and several mill sites. The impediments which have kept this promising property idle except for assessment work the past few years are now completely removed. Ownership vested in the name of William J. Priestley, Sr. Titles are clear and unencumbered.

The Priestley vein, 400 feet from Damon, was intersected at 1380 feet from portal, some 1350 feet below the surface. This vein was drifted on 550 feet, disclosing a strong ore body. Both veins gain added stoping backs rapidly as advance is made.  

Each vein sampled every five feet across the workable ore, and thrown together as a composite sample, representative of the combined high and low grade ore in both veins and sent to the University of Washington Testing Laboratories. Exhaustive tests gave the following results.

Gold…1.505 ounces

Silver…15.61 ounces

$62.81 Ratio of concentration 3.1

 The tests also 28% metallic arsenic, equal to 560 pounds per ton of concentrate, also appreciable quantities of lead, each of which demands a ready market. Tests also indicate the ore easily amenable to modern treatment methods, rendering up to 96% extraction and less than one dollar tail loss which is better than the average recovery and should very nearly be conformed to in actual practice.

 In order to obtain some sort of check against the above test, 22 tones of mixed ore and waste going over the dump was sent to Tacoma smelter for treatment, giving in part the following returns –  

Gold .87 ozs., Silver 9.34 ozs., Lead 4%, Arsenic 10.08%, Iron 21.6%, Sulphur 23%, Silicon Dioxide 35.5%

These returns are good and provide a fair check considering the shipment contained close to half waste, whereas, had the ore been sorted, or waste eliminated, the assays would have been proportionally higher. In comparison, a large sample, representative of the ore being mined for shipment to Tacoma, as high grade, brought the following analysis from the Tacoma smelter. This from so-called hand-sorted shipping ore.

Ounce per ton – Gold 1.34, Silver, 10.62, Lead 5.6, Copper 0.9%, Zinc 4.0%, Arsenic 17.6%, Antimony 2.8%, Silicon Dioxide 17.8%, Iron 25.8%, Sulphur 25.4%

Reducing this to present-day values – Gold at $35.00 per oz, $46.90; Silver, $10.62; Arsenic, 352 lbs. at .06, $22.64; Lead 92 lbs. at .17, $15.64 –

Total Gold and Silver…$57.62

Total Lead and Arsenic…$36.66

Per Ton…$94.18

The probable ore developed by the Damon and Priestley drifts, and by further exposures of commercial ore up to several feet, may be estimated at several hundred thousand tons, this within the boundaries of the present development. Costs to mine and mill in a properly equipped plant conservatively estimated from four to six dollars per ton. Freight and treatment will run about ten dollars per ton. The ore shoots exposed along the floors and roof of the present low level workings indicate definite continuity, latterly and with further depth, and, if managed rightly, profitable operation for many years to come after the upper reaches are worked out.

It is important to note, by projecting the Priestley drift easterly, or toward the Apex Mine about 1250 feet, then crosscutting at right angles a few hundred feet, the Apex vein would be intersected at a point 600 feet below no. 4 raise and stoped workings in the Apex Mine. Raising up this distance on the vein would hole through in no. 4 adit 1250 feet from portable. Some of the richest ore in the Apex Mine is found directly where the raise mentioned would hole through.

It is also of interest to note, according to the survey by projecting the present Damon crosscut from its present face on, approximately 500 feet in a straight line, the Apex vein would be intersected. Then by drifting on this (the Apex vein) about 1250 feet, the face of this drift would be in line with no. 4 raise noted in the Priestley Proposal. See maps accompanying.

In either procedure outlined and thus connecting up these two mines presents a sound perspective of considerable magnitude.  There can be no question as to the downward extension of both Damon and Apex ore bodies in value and extent. Both veins are strong and well defined. All signs point to a continuance of profitable ore downward below the present development for many hundreds of feet, and beyond.

This property possesses every natural feature for rapid and economical mining and milling. The principal veins are true fissures in granodiorite, striking regular and dipping about 55 degrees. Because of the granite wall rock little timbering will be required. All ore mined will fall by gravity into chutes and ore cars, thence to bunkers and reduction plant and/or trucks direct to the smelter. There is an abundance of finest timber and pure water on property for all requirements, and of importance, road direct to the mine which needs but little improvement to serve all purposes.

The Damon property is equipped with a good mine layout consisting in part of 65 hp. Self-starting diesel, large air compressor, drill sharpener, drill steel, tools, accessories, generator for lighting plan and mine workings throughout. The tunnels are tracked with new heavy steel rails and the entire workings strung with 10” diameter galvanized ventilation pipe, also 2” water and air lines direct to the workings, stoppers, air and water hoses, etc. Active mine operation and production of high grade shipping ore had already been done, assays from which have previously been mentioned earlier in this report. The property is also equipped with an almost new 75-ton flotation plant, large modern crushers, self-classifying ball mill, flotation layout, etc.


Improve and finish the last mile of our road for auto and truck haul. First, however, some clearing on the Mine-to-Market road is necessary. Next install small 10,000 foot capacity sawmill to furnish lumber for living quarters, mine chute lumber, stulls, lagging, reduction plant, etc. Rehabilitate the present mine plant equipment and housing at tunnel portal and start attacking the high grade and shipping without delay. Coincident, push combined working raise and ore pass from the Damon drift, on the vein in ore right to the surface about 800 feet overhead, holing through in the center of the splendid ore shoot mentioned.

Completion of this raise will at once not only furnish perfect ventilation throughout the mine as it expands, but will open up this ore body from top to bottom. Sub-levels will be reopened up at intervals along its course, ore being minded from each. Obviously, the ore body exposed by trenching over a long distance on the surface, coupled with impressive showings in the drifts, 800 feet below, is reasonable criteria to justify the assumption that when this raise is through to the surface, two machines, one man each operating, should knock down sufficient ore to keep up a definite and substantial shipment schedule from this of the mine alone. In fact, this particular development offers so many advantages from an economical standpoint, there should no hesitancy in confining the entire operation toward pushing this job until finished. The present plant has the capacity to do it.

Of particular significance, it is conservatively estimated the recovery from ore mined while carrying forward this development should not only cover the items of expense, labor, etc. But leave a fair margin to the good. With reasonable care in sorting, A $40.00 gold-silver average per ton, shipping grade, should be maintained as a minimum. Other things being equal, skilled workmen under proper supervision should complete the entire job within six months. Equipped properly and managed right, this mine should pay its own way from the start and develop into a satisfying produce of considerable magnitude.

 Brief mention of close proximity of Apex mine to Damon has been made. Obviously merging the two mines and connecting the working offers far-reaching possibilities. Greater tonnage and increased earnings with lower costs over a longer period of years. I believe acquisition of the Apex could be had on terms equitable to all concerned.

 Considering the Pioneering incident to make this a going mine has practically all been done and in the light of the established facts outlined herein, this may be considered and outstanding opportunity. A visit to the property should inspire confidence and convince anyone schooled in the business of mining, the statements made herein are conservative and as represented and has real money-making possibilities with moderate initial capital expenditure.

WM. J. Priestley, E.M.

Telephone: TU 3055
Route 1, Box 291
Everett, Washington



Courtesy Washington Department of Natural Resources

Plans for installation of a 100-ton mill and power plant at the Damon and Pythias mine are being considered by W.J. Priestley, 6039 Thirtieth North East, Seattle, Washington, owner and operator. The property is in the Money Creek district of King County, adjoining the Apex Gold property, also owned by Priestley.  Values are in gold, silver, lead, and arsenic. Only assessment work is being done at present, but development will be resumed this summer. A 1,400-foot tunnel opens the mine to a depth of 1,500 feet.