Ore Terminal

Ernst Valley, Texas

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1 Review
4 out of 5
Between 1909 and 1919, a 6-mile tramway carried ore in ninety ore buckets between the Puerto Rico Mine in the Sierra del Carmen of Mexico and the Texas terminal, the endpoint of this hike. When it was operating, the tramway carried 7.5 tons of ore per hour. From the Texas terminal, the silver, lead, and zinc ore was hauled north to the railroad in Marathon. When the mine was abandoned, the tramway was left to rot and rust away. Most of it was built in too rugged a terrain to be economic to salvage. Today the rusting cables snake across the desert along the tramway route. Most of the towers have collapsed, but a number still stand, their decay slowed by the dry climate. This trail is dry, with very little shade. Late fall to early spring are the best times to do this hike; in summer the hike can be brutal. Carry plenty of water any timeSeveral old tramway towers still stand along the Ore Terminal Trail of year. The trail is lightly used and maintained only irregularly, but is generally not too difficult to follow.

Ore Terminal Professional Review and Guide

"Between 1909 and 1919, a 6-mile tramway carried ore in ninety ore buckets between the Puerto Rico Mine in the Sierra del Carmen of Mexico and the Texas terminal, the endpoint of this hike. When it was operating, the tramway carried 7.5 tons of ore per hour. From the Texas terminal, the silver, lead, and zinc ore was hauled north to the railroad in Marathon. When the mine was abandoned, the tramway was left to rot and rust away. Most of it was built in too rugged a terrain to be economic to salvage. Today the rusting cables snake across the desert along the tramway route. Most of the towers have collapsed, but a number still stand, their decay slowed by the dry climate.

This trail is dry, with very little shade. Late fall to early spring are the best times to do this hike; in summer the hike can be brutal. Carry plenty of water any timeSeveral old tramway towers still stand along the Ore Terminal Trail of year. The trail is lightly used and maintained only irregularly, but is generally not too difficult to follow."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ernst Valley
Distance: 4
Trail Type: Shuttle
Skill Level: Difficult
Duration: 2.5-3 hours
Season: Year-round
Local Contacts: Big Bend National Park
Driving Directions: Directions to Ore Terminal

Recent Trail Reviews

11/13/2001
1

I've done this trail twice with different partners. The trail itself offers no shade or water along the way so go prepared for the season you hike it. Many places along the trail reveal the tram cable weaving its way in and out of the cactus and a few og the old ore buckets remain where they've been for years. The old towers offer some great pictures as well. Especially with the rugged terrain of the mountains in the background. With a little imagination, you can picture some Grand Canyon scenes on this trip. Toward the end of the trail you'll reach a steep canyon. I weighed the options and decided on the loop route around the north end. The terminal timbers remain only partly intact with the cables leading right up to it. The ground still covered with shards of black ore with a blue sky makes a great contrast for pictures. This is a fun hike that I suggest for everyone who likes the longer trails. E-mail me for photos.



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May 2018