“ghost town overrun with Mercury”
New Idria was an unincorporated town in San Benito County, California. It is named after the now-inoperative New Idria Mercury Mine, a quicksilver mine. The New Idria Mercury Mine was named in honor of the world's second largest quicksilver mine in Idrija, Slovenia (Slovene pronunciation [ĭdrija]; California English pronunciation [īdria]. The town grew to support the mining operations, but the mine closed in the 1970s. The town is currently an abandoned ghost town with more than 100 standing buildings, though vandalism has contributed to their deterioration in recent years. According to the US Geological Survey, both Idria (primary) and New Idria (variant) are recognized for federal use in describing the community.
This place is accessible by car if you don't mind driving over very bumpy roads for about an hour. I took an AWD with about 6.22 inch of ground clearance and was able to climb up the first few steep unpaved inclines. Not sure how much the AWD helped but I kept in the first care and worked the dips and holes carefully. With any 2WD car, just park near the end of the unpaved road and hike a [very] short distance up. The mine itself is fences up but the surrounding structures are easily accessible. While I stopped to take photos, there were groups of people enjoying their dirt-bikes and all-terrain vehicles. I am planning to return to explore the area more fully.
If you’re looking for a little riskier side trip, the New Idria Ghost Town should be on your itinerary… Once a town built around a quicksilver mine, today the town is abandoned and the water and ground is considered toxic. A trip to the town will get you some pretty neat photos, but the BLM has been known to close the road, so we can’t always guarantee you’ll make it to the town.
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New Idria Ghost Town
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