Gov’t Mineral Springs Old Growth Loop B38



Here are some pix of the historic Government Mineral Springs Resort, built circa 1918, burned down 1935, never rebuilt.   The clearing at the Gov’t Mineral Springs campground is where the resort was located.

The Oregonian article here is a full-page feature on Government Mineral Springs Hotel Resort from Aug, 1920.     In the article the writer mentions the Cascade Locks-Stevenson ferry which operated until The Bridge of the Gods opened in 1926.   Also, the extensive wildfire burn they drive through north of Carson is the 1902 Yacolt Burn, which started in this area north of Carson and burned 30 miles to the west in just 36 hours, reportedly dropping a half-inch of ash on Portland.  The spring the article describes them drinking out of is the still-functioning Iron Mike Spring (see video link in blog below). Government Mineral Springs Resort Aug 1920

This is a photo of the first suspension bridge over the canyon of the Wind River between carson and Gov’t Mineral Springs.  This bridge was an acheivement for the period!

Wind River Supension Bridge, Carson, Wa 1950s

This next photo shows people drinking at Iron Mike spring, located behind the Gov’t Mineral Springs Resort. Look for cups in their hands.  Iron Mike is still there and you can still drink its mineral-rich waters out of a hand-pump.

Historic Iron Mike mineral spring, behind Gov’t Mineral Spring resort, circa 1920s. Courtesy Steve Lehl collection

Here is a video of two Curious Gorge friends having a sip at Iron Mike Spring, still located at its historic spot at the road-end trailhead next to the Government Mineral Springs campground.  In the autumn the Forest Service removes the pump handle (when the water table rises and taints the water), but usually in the summertime the pump functions and the nearby Forest Service sign (shown below) dares you to take a drink.  This metallic-tinged soda water is often collected by locals to take home to make super-puffy pancakes with—the fizz puffs-up the pancakes….bring a bottle and give it a try!!

Current (2010) forest service sign at Iron Mike spring

Embarking on the hiking loop I describe around the lower reaches of Trapper Creek you’ll immediately encounter huge old-growth surrounding the leased-land private cabins, then head upstream for a few rock-hops across side-streams and Trapper Creek itself.

Old-growth along Trapper Creek

11 thoughts on “Gov’t Mineral Springs Old Growth Loop B38

  1. Thanks for the photos. My grandfather owned the hotel during the depression, but it was gone by the time I was born. The bridge was exciting for thrill seekers – it swayed and the canyon was deep.

  2. The large 4 story hotel in the first photo is the Shipherd Hot Springs Resort which was along the Wind River just upstream from the Carson Hot Springs Resort in Carson. Note the difference in achitecture.

  3. We attempted to drink from Iron Mike today (September 20), and notwithstanding today’s temperature (90° F), the pump was already closed for the season. Bummer.

    We attempted to conquer the hike described in the book but we were unsuccessful. We have completed many of the hikes in the book (which is an amazing guide) so we aren’t complete “novices.” However, this hike completely stumped us. We aren’t sure whether the trail was closed or the path was wiped away, but we could not find anything beyond the gate remotely resembling the hike described. We were stumped and made several unsuccessful attempts. Bummer.

  4. The picture with the caption, old growth along trapper creek I think is the same old growth Douglas Fir that I took a picture of. I put my camera on a tripod and used the timed exposure then ran and got in front of the tree, doing a 180 to face the camera, then hugged it backwards. The film is professional B&W and the picture is incredible. I love that tree! The hemlocks everywhere really show up good in the picture and there was also snow. I want to explore that area more and I love your Soda Creek picture (that area). I’m always afraid of cougars though.

  5. My family lived in Carson in the late 40’s to 50’s. After moving to the Yakima valley it became a yearly tradition to take us kids camping there at least once each summer in the 70’s and 80’s. I can still taste the mineral water and I have not been back since around 1986 or 1987.

  6. We went there today and it was a creepy place. We did find the Minerva statue and wanted more information about it, please. The trail was overgrown and we encountered a snake on it. Also, another trail was washed out. Then there was a bridge which said Do not cross, dangerous, but an older lady, who we think lived there took us across it. Very odd place.

    1. Second or third time on foot in the Trapper Creek area today. Last time walked along the cabin road on the opposite side of the river, today returned to hike the Mineral Creek side. Just as expected, handle removed from the well and signs dating water is not potable. If you have the desire to taste it, the pump can be made to work with no harm to yourself, or it 🙂 Thanks to CG, got to see the Minerva statue and looped back to the gaurd station. If you follow the directions of the book, there should be no issue finding this one. Thanks!

      1. *Signs *stating*. Also to be noted, the area could be considered either creepy or wonderful. To be among 500 year old trees with not a soul around is a unique experience whichever feeling you have! Enjoy!

  7. My family owned the cabin that had/has (haven’t been there in a while) the Minerva statue. That was in the late 1960s-about 1980. There was an article about the statue that I found in the Oregonian archives. It came from the Lewis and Clark Exposition in Portland, and had been used for art classes in Portland Public Schools, before being sold as surplus. An earlier owner of our cabin bought the statue and built the housing for it and the fencing. There used to be a huge swing set nearby, built by another owner, and a large stone outdoor fireplace.

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