This is a copper mine from 1904! It was worked by 6 men, I believe, for 2 years.

Photo showing the upper adit of the Thistle Mine

Photo showing the lower adit at the Thistle MineThis mine is not very extensive but it's definitely worth the visit if you're into this kind of thing. The main tunnel runs level for about 50 feet, then it meets a T intersection; if you go left, it continues for about 30 feet and ends in a small room with colour in the walls.

If you go right at the T, the passage runs a little farther, and includes two offshoots: a tunnel leading down and out of sight (but it is flooded), and a passageway climbing up above (not safely) to the upper entrance.

There is some original iron hardware at the site - some of the rails are still in the tunnel, but they are rusted by over 115 years of damp conditions!

How to Find the Thistle Mine

I had a difficult and thoroughly entertaining time in finding this mine. I had read about it somewhere, but I was only able to learn that it's on Mt Hayes, which is a small mountain southwest of the Nanaimo Airport (same general area as the suspension bridge over Haslam Creek). It took two visits to Mt Hayes before I was able to find the mine. I got lucky, really.

I'm not going to give specific directions - partly because of liability, and partly because I don't WANT a lot of people to know how to find it. But mostly, I want to leave you with the opportunity to find it like I did. I'll always remember the shouts from my kids who were walking ahead, when they saw it first.

But I'll say this - the mine is on the steep northeast face of Mt Hayes, in an area that looks roughly like this:

Drone photo showing cliffs and steep forest on Mt Hayes

Photo of mineral vein inside the Thistle Mine, showing oxidized copper colours of blue and green and gold

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