Hiking The Fat Hill Tram (Part 1), California

  In 1908 the mines high up at Fat Hill experenced a short resurgence, during this time a tramway was built from Cerro Gordo to Keeler and put into service in 1909. Over 100 men were put to work building this tram. As the post card below states, Cerro Gordo was 5 miles away and 5000 feet higher.

  The mines again failed and the tramway layed idle until 1910 when Zinc was discovered on Fat Hill. L.D. Gordon put over 25 men were put to work reconditioning the 29,560 ft. gravity powered (Leschen) aerial tramway. A new control station was built at the midway point.

  There are many colorful stories about this tramway being used by drunken miners to catch a ride to Cerro Gordo in the ore buckets after a night of drinking in Keeler.

  By Sept. 1915 the tramway was delivering over 20 tons of zinc ore per day to Keeler. During the 1920's; 80 tons of ore went down this tramway. The tramway continued to be used until the Great Depression when zinc mining ceased at Cerro Gordo..

  In 1959 most of the tramway was dissassembled and moved to the now ghost town of Candeleria, Nevada.

Let's Explore the Fat Hill Tram 

Real Photo Post Card shows construction of the lower Cerro Gordo Tram Station in Keeler.


Backside of the Post Card, Stanley, a worker building the tram writes home.


The ghostly lower Tram Station in Keeler in the 1950's before being destroyed.


Tram buckets heading up Fat Hill.


Miner catching a ride to work.


Our hike starts with a few miles of soft sand UPHILL !


Fallen cables lead our way.


Could you imagine the boss telling ya; "we need you to pull this 1000lb reel of cable up the hill" oh by the way "Here's your sign".

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