El Dorado (Pat's Gulch) Field Trip

August 26-27, 2017   **date change**
DATES: August 26-27, 2017

LOCATION:  Montana Blue Jewel Mine (El Dorado Bar), Helena

MATERIAL:  sapphire, garnet

LEAD:  Dave Hedeman, 406-871-8062

COST:  $10 per bucket (minimum of 5), cash only

TOOLS:  they provide.  work gloves are not a bad idea

DIRECTIONS:  US 12 (Euclid) going east into Helena; left on N. Benton (by Carroll College); right on Custer (cross I-15); left on York Road (just past airport); continue past golf course and past Spokane Bar Sapphire Mine; cross Missouri River; turn left at York onto Nelson Road (gravel); left onto Favorite Gulch Road (signs for El Dorado Bar Sapphire Mines & El Dorado Heights); follow all the way and drop down to the El Dorado (flood plain)(you'll see the dredge tailings); left on Four Cees Road (up the hill); look for Mt Blue Jewel sign.

Google location: click here 

ACCOMMODATIONS:  campgrounds nearby, motels in Helena (google)

VEHICLE: any (road is rough though)

HOURS OF DRIVE TIME: 4.5  (one way)


PHYSICAL DIFFICULTY:  moderate (it's a heck of a work out)

SIDE TRIPS:  Pat's Gulch (August 27), Blackfoot River, Spokane Bar

Additional information:

Space is limited to 4 people (or groups/partners working together: max of 3 in a group) at a time.  If a person/group is only participating a half day, then we can put another person or group on the other half.  So PLEASE be specific when you RSVP as to how many: group or single; half day, whole day, or what part of the day.  Numbers will need to be confirmed 2 weeks in advance (by August 13).

This is a privately owned mine and there is a fee to dig here ($10 per 5 gallon bucket of 1/8" to 1/4" concentrate...minimum of 5).  You do the digging and concentrating and he will jig your buckets when you are done.  It is a good work out so if you are not young or in good physical shape I recommend you work with a partner or group of 3.  Also, Bruce is jolly upbeat fellow who loves what he does and will likely show you his operation if you've never been there before.  It is a fun experience.

We will meet at the mine (Montana Blue Jewel) on 4C's Rd at 10 am on Saturday (26th).  Might be easier for some to go to the Helena area Friday and spend the night.  Dave will be driving down early Saturday morning and staying in Helena Saturday night.  Bring lunches, snacks and plenty of fluids (water).  There is nothing available for sale nearby.  There are porta potties on site.  Road in is rough but navigable with 2WD and low clearance.

Sunday (27th) we will be coordinating with Ron Clark to go up Pat's Gulch to collect grossular garnet.

We will meet Sunday morning (time tba) at the intersection of Snowshoe Rd. and US Hwy 12, about 20 miles west of Helena (just east of Avon) on the north side of the highway.  There is no limit on persons to this leg of the trip.  Anyone who cannot attend Saturday can always join up Sunday if they wish.

For a printable information sheet, click