Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Payne Mine

The Kootenay Rockies Bike Guide has a map describing a mountain bike trail called the Payne Mine Trail. I explored this trail in early June as I had never really heard of it. Leaving New Denver it is a good 30 minutes up to the Three Forks junction on the highway and then another 30 minutes of pedalling on the dirt road to Sandon. At Sandon stay on the left side of the creek on the Cody Road to the start of the K&S Railway trail. The K&S railway grade back to Three Forks is also a good bike ride - about an hour. After about 200m take the first right hand trail - an old wagon road - from the K&S trail. This trail is a little rough and winds continuously upwards traversing Payne Mountain. I think I passed one descending trail, probably to another mine and then came to a junction with a traverse road and a switchback road that continued to climb. I was at about 5,500 ft at this point and entering the snowline. I decided the traverse trail was the right trail and walked on snow for a couple hundred meters and the trail started to descend gradually into the Payne Mine Bowl. The mine was built into the middle of avalanche slide path. This was the largest mine in the area and the largest silver producer in Canada. Interesting spot. The wagon trail continues down continously steep all the way to Highway 31A. It looks like people ATV up the trail but there are parts of the trail entering Payne bowl where the wagon road is washed out. Have fun.

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