View Full Version : An Afternoon at Daveytown and Jumbo, Nevada

David A. Wright
01-31-2012, 09:07 PM
On Tuesday, December 13, 2011, my wife, our little dog and I decided to take a little daytime reconnoiter out northwest of Winnemucca for a few hours in the afternoon. I've been this way before, my wife hasn't.

Winter in Winnemucca started off normally enough, with a few small snows in November; but December was turning into "Dry-Cember" and no snow had fallen in weeks. Temperatures remained chilly, seasonable norms. What usually can be slimey, icy and slippery in the way of roads; this day were fine. Four-wheel-drive wasn't absolutely necessary, except where ground water stood or ran along the road, leaving a pavement of ice.

A jaunt of a few hours, a thermos of coffee, a couple bottles of water, a small snack for each of us went into the truck. Since it is upland game season and I have a license, my Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun and my Ruger 10/22 came along in the gun rack as well, in case we flushed some chukars or a cottontail and they might become dinner this evening.


Our trip was to take in two ghost towns northwest of Winnemucca, Daveytown and Jumbo.Pavement of US95 would take us north of Winnemucca, where we'd turn off on maintained the Humboldt County dirt to go over Sand Pass into Silver State Valley. The county road then turns north, going by several large alfalfa farms. Through here I've often seen herds of antelope enjoying the alfalfa, and was hoping to view them again.

The road runs north along the bottom of Silver State Valley, flanked on the west by the Slumbering Hills; the east by the Bloody Run Hills, they being a southern spur of the Santa Rosa Range. A large wildfire had burned through the Bloody Run on September 30th, torched by numerous lightning strikes during a sudden and un-forecasted squall of tropical moisture that suddenly popped up from the south; 7,835 foot Bloody Run Peak still had the appearance of scorched earth. We didn't spot any antelope, but did see plenty of hawks and a couple of wild turkeys.

Near the middle of the valley, sits the scant ruins of Daveytown.



Daveytown was a small milling center for scattered mines in the Awakening Mining District, laying along the Slumbering Hills. At Daveytown was a small stamp mill and a small population.

A friend of mine in Winnemucca is a retired UPS driver. He says through the 1960s, 1970s and part of the 1980s, he would occasionally deliver parcels to the last remaining resident here. He's seen that Pontiac,Buick or Oldsmobile woody wagon turn from a complete car to what it is today over those years.

To the west of Daveytown is the large headframe of the Alabama Mine. It's visible from Daveytown and I wanted to take my wife to see it, plus the beautiful view out over Silver State Valley and the high mountains to the northeast, but I could see the mine frame was already going into shadow and knew it would start to get chilly. As it was, the sun felt good at 35, but in shadow it would feel like it really was. And nights had been around +5 to -5 in the past days and after the sun went down temperatures quickly dropped. So, long story short, we would bypass the Alabama Mine this trip.

David A. Wright
01-31-2012, 09:09 PM
Part 2

Jumbo, on the other hand, would be a sunny spot, soaking up the rays of the western sun for the maximum time allowable. It's position atop the very crest of the Slumbering Hills and just on topmost western slope faces ensured that. So we sped off north to the road that took us to Jumbo.

The road to Jumbo takes up a long, narrow gulch, then starts running up along ridges. Suddenly it bursts out top Jumbo and now the sun was directly in our eyes. I've been this way before, once even on foot in hip deep snow after two friends and I had to abandon our vehicles about a half mile away after the ice, deep mud and snow stopped forward progress and our tires could no longer get enough traction to take us up the steep slopes. Jumbo is a magical place in the last rays of the sun, and on this day it didn't dissappoint either.





David A. Wright
01-31-2012, 09:10 PM
Part 3

Jumbo sits atop the crest facing westward to the Jackson Mountains and overlooking Desert Valley, at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. It's clapboard and railroad tie cabins take on magical colors at this time of day and make for gorgeous photography. I've found several very old date nails in some of these ties. My retired UPS friend says he used to deliver up here as well in his UPS rounds, and more than once he's had to overnight in his truck during intense blizzards. A small, open pit mine sits within 100 yards of these ruins, worked during the 1980s. You can't really see it from the wooden cabins, as the opening is a narrow slit in the face of the mountain, which then opens up into the typical round, terraced open cut once inside.

After our tour of Jumbo, my wife, dog and I head down the hill along the western slopes of the Slumbering Hills.

The bottom view above was taken of Jumbo from a point midway down the range. Jumbo is spread the entire way down the western flank of the Slumbering Hills, as mining focused over this distance over the decades since its earliest days. Though we didn't take the time to see them on this day, in the past my retired UPS friend has shown me other interesting cabins, old equipment and millsite. And down at the foot of the Slumbering Hills is another section of old Jumbo, where several wooden cabins once stood, terraced in two rows along the main street.

As we approached, gazing into the setting sun, I spied something moving.


Difficult to see in this small image, there are four deer, which slowly made their way north to south, probably heading for a warm place to bed down for the night.


Though I had stopped the truck less than 100-yards of them, they seemed undisturbed at our presence and moseyed along.

The sun was just starting to touch the top of the high tips of the Jackson Mountains and the colors were magical. After passing a short distance past the deer, I took advantage of the lighting to snap off some photos.


Looking back the way we came. The uppermost camp of Jumbo is not really visible in this small image, but is pretty much above the point the road dissappears in the distance. The small, black dot is actually the open pit mine opening.


The view northwest over Silver State Valley from the lower townsite of Jumbo. The distant mountains are the Pine Forest Range, about 45 miles away.

David A. Wright
01-31-2012, 09:12 PM
Part 4


The view southwest across Desert Valley into the setting sun over the southern and lower portion of the Jackson Mountains.

After the sun went down, we made our way to the north-south road in Desert Valley. Near the mothballed Amax Sleeper Mine - a large, mile long open pit on the bottom of the valley at the foot of the Slumbering Hills; now flooded and looking like a large lake - I spied a large buck. The sun had now set, but the hillsides a nice hue.


My faithful Toyota Tacoma near the Amax Sleeper Mine, where I spied the large buck. It's hard to believe that all this time and distance has gone by since I drove it new off the lot; 375 miles to the south, 9 years and nearly 142,000 miles ago. I think nothing of getting in, turning the key, and letting it take me far out into the wilderness of northern Nevada, out here a day's walk from the nearest human habitat and several days walk from home (of course, there's emergency stuff onboard 24/7 in case something ever happens).


Some miles further along the graded road to the Amax Sleeper Mine and we hit pavement again at NV140. It was then a swift drive of just less than an hour home.

GPS Data:
Trip odometer: 107 miles.
Trip time: 4 hours, 8 minutes, 1 second (the GPS was booted up and in place
for about ten minutes before actually heading out from home).
Average speed: 25.8 mph.
Maximum speed: 78.2 mph (passing two semi trucks on US95).

The Tacoma had 141,786 miles on it when I pulled back into my driveway.

A nice, relaxing afternoon. Never saw any bunny rabbits nor chukars, nor did I fire a shot from either of my guns. We saw plenty of other wildlife, such as the deer, wild turkeys, hawks and coyotes. And plenty of gorgeous, northern Nevada scenery a short distance from home.

02-01-2012, 05:27 AM
excellent!!!!! great pics and trip there David!!!!!!

02-01-2012, 06:33 AM
Great post.................Thanks, Speedy

02-01-2012, 03:54 PM
My wife and I really enjoyed the pictures and story of your day. Reminds us of some places we have been also.

02-01-2012, 07:05 PM
Beautiful shots, good as gold.


02-02-2012, 07:09 PM
Thanks for the write-up and pictures....we really enjoyed them!


02-02-2012, 07:53 PM
Great pictures David! Added to my list of must see sites!

LV Caretaker
02-03-2012, 05:22 AM
Love, love, love these photos. Felt like I was there. Thank you so much for sharing.


Dave A
02-03-2012, 07:59 PM
The photos looking uphill that shows the three rusting steel tanks is very interesting. You can see the end of a conveyor on the right and it appears that the tailing pile shows newer deposits in some sections, as though this is a working mine. However from what you said, there is no activity at all, so I assume this is just a function of how the light hits the tailings?

David A. Wright
02-03-2012, 09:59 PM
Thank you all for your positive comments.

There was activity at Jumbo in the 1980s, where a small open pit is located just a couple hundred yards from the cabins, but for the most part hidden due to a small slot open in the side of the mountain top, opening up into the pit out of sight.

Moderators, I have super slow dial up access at a max speed of 28.8 kps. If you wish to include these photos on pages for Jumbo and Daveytown (if there is one in the first place), feel free to post on the main gt website. It's been years since I contributed photos to the main site and no longer know how to contact. I plan on more such trip accounts in the future.

02-09-2012, 07:40 AM
It has been at least a year since I have had the chance to chat with you. Great to see your recent trip. I think I'll add this one on my spring outings for my wife and I now that all the kids have moved out!