Harmony Borax Works Trail

Death Valley National Park, California

Distance0.4mi
Elevation Gain90ft
Trailhead Elevation-239ft
Top-213ft
Elevation Min/Max-240/-213ft
Elevation Start/End-239/-239ft

Harmony Borax Works Trail

Harmony Borax Works Trail is a hiking trail in Inyo County, California. It is within Death Valley National Park. It is 0.4 miles long and begins at -239 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 0.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 90 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. The Harmony Borax Works can be seen along the trail.

Harmony Borax Works Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This desolate site was the scene of frenzied activity from 1883 to 1888, not in the pursuit of gold, like so much of the other mining activity, but of borax. Used in ceramics and glass as well as soap and detergent, borax was readily available here in Death Valley. Borax prices were highly mercurial due to soaring supply and moderate demand in the nineteenth century, so the industry was plagued by sharp boom and bust cycles. Here at the Harmony Works, the years of prosperity were typically brief. Chinese laborers hauled the borate sludge in from the flats on sledges to the processing plant, remains of which are the focal point of this hike. There the borate was boiled down and hauled 165 miles across the desert to Mojave by the famed twenty-mule teams. One of the wagons that made this journey stands below the borax plant. Although the works were in operation only from October to June, working conditions for man and beast were harsh. A side hike to the hilltop overlook gives you an excellent vista of the central valley floor. From here it is easy to imagine the usual workday in operation here at the Harmony Works. To the east of the hilltop is an area that appears to have been a dump for Furnace Creek. A rusty antique car rests on the hillside, surrounded by desert."

"This short hike on a loop trail leads to a historic nineteenth-century industrial site on the valley floor. There are interpretive signs along the trail. The endless borax flats are an overwhelming sight. This desolate site was the scene of frenzied activity from 1883 to 1888—not in quest of gold, like so much mining activity, but of borax.

Used in ceramics and glass as well as soap and detergent, borax was readily available here in Death Valley. Borax prices were mercurial due to soaring supply and moderate demand in the nineteenth century, so the industry was plagued by sharp boom and bust cycles. Here at the Harmony Works, the years of prosperity were typically brief."

"This short hike on a loop trail leads to a nineteenth-century industrial site on the valley floor. The endless borax flats are an overwhelming sight. This desolate site was the scene of frenzied activity from 1883 to 1888, not in the pursuit of gold like so much of the other mining activity, but of borax. Used in ceramics and glass as well as soap and detergent, borax was readily available here in Death Valley.

Borax prices were highly mercurial due to soaring supply and moderate demand in the nineteenth century, so the industry was plagued by sharp boom and bust cycles. Here at the Harmony Works, the years of prosperity were typically brief. For more information about the history of mining in Death Valley, visit the Borax Museum (free admission) at Furnace Creek Ranch."

Harmony Borax Works Trail Reviews

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Review by Bill & teresa Kettler, more of a short interpretive trail. After borax was found near Furnace Creek Ranch (then called Greenland) in 1881, William Tell Coleman built the Harmony plant and began to process ore in late 1883 or early 1884. When in full operation, the Harmony Borax Works employed 40 men who produced three tons of borax daily. During the summer months, when the weather was so hot that processing water would not cool enough to permit the suspended borax to crystallize, Coleman moved his work force to the Amargosa Borax Plant near present day Tecopa, California
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Trail Information

Death Valley National Park
Nearby City
Death Valley National Park
Parks
Furnace Creek Visitor Center; (760) 786-3200; www.nps.gov/deva
Local Contacts
NPS Death Valley Visitors Map; Trails Illustrated Death Valley National Park Map; USGS West of Furnace Creek-CA and Furnace Creek-CA
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Oct 2018