Tucked away in a small valley just northeast of Greenwood BC, Jewel Lake is a wonderful place to visit, You can spend your day on the beautiful waters, I hear the fishing is quite good, or if you like history, there is a lot to explore. Our goal today is the abandoned Dentonia Mine, located on a bench above the lake on its east side.
I’ve been here twice, the first time in 1974 and again in 2011. It’s been a long time, yet I had no trouble finding my way around the maze of trails in the area and really it seemed that nothing had changed in the span between the two visits. I described the layout of everything to Connie before we arrived and she was surprised how accurate I was. That seems to be one talent I have – I can remember things from my past with incredible detail.
The Dentonia workings are extensive and include old adits and shafts on many levels, along with lots of collapsed buildings and waste ore dumps. The main portal was blocked, which is good given the popular lake close by and how extensive this mine actually is. In the 1970s it was wide open and I remember going in quite a way back then. How foolish you are when you are young – it’s a wonder I survived to adulthood.
The view of Jewel Lake from the ore dump is quite nice.
This Dentonia Mine operated on and off from some forty years with most production taking place in the periods of 1912-1916 and again from 1934-1943. According to official records, in that time over 120,000 tonnes of ore were mined, resulting in some 1348kgs of gold and 8055kgs of silver being recovered (along with some lead and other minor metals). The gold alone would be valued at over eighty million dollars in today’s prices. Wow! In the 1970s and 80s, a minor amount of work was done on the property, mostly testing and bulk sampling, however nothing more seems to have come about because of this.
Most of the buildings seen here were standing in the 1970s. Time has taken it’s toll and outside of one, are all collapsed now. The building would have included a mill or concentrator, power and compressor house, offices, labs and so on. It takes a lot to run a mine and much infrastructure is needed.
None of the other possible entries were explored, although I know there are or were others in the area. Some old rail were found near the one mine dump.
At the south end of the lake is an old log cabin that I remember playing in. A sign on it dates it from the late 1890s. The tourist cabin I stayed at in the 70s is close by and does not appear to have changed much in the ensuring years. Looking at the lake from this position, one can see some tailings piles near the water not far from the cabins.
The north end of Jewel Lake is home to a provincial park and there is camping there. It’s a nice setting.
If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!
Date of adventure: August 2011
Location: Jewel lake, BC (near Greenwood).
Warning: Mines are dangerous! Connie and I are experienced and know the risks involved.