Gin Lin Mining Trail #917
Traveling through a light forest canopy, the Gin Lin Mining Trail travels over a moderate east-facing slope in the Little Applegate River valley, right next to Flumet Flat Campground. This short interpretive trail wanders through an historic mining site that dates back to the 1850s, when Chinese miners like Gin Lin traveled to Southern Oregon to seek their fortunes during the gold rush.
Be aware that poison oak grows close to the trail edge, so keep an eye on children and pets!
The brochure to accompany the interpretive hike is available at the Star Ranger Station, as well as at the Medford Interagency Office.
In 1848, "Gold!" was the cry that swept throughout the west. First discovered near Sacramento, the precious metal attracted thousands of hopeful prospectors, armed with picks and gold pans to the new gold strikes in the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon. A technique new to mining processes, hydraulic mining, allowed the miners to move away from the streams and excavate the older streambeds that formed part of the hillsides. Hydraulic mining used pressurized water to loosen the consolidated gravel and cobbles of the slopes, more readily exposing deeper soils and veins of gold.
News of the discovery of gold in California reached China in the Fall of 1848. The promise of the "golden hills," along with the social unrest in China, drew an increasing number of Chinese miners and laborers to the mining regions of the western United States. They proved to be an efficient source of manpower. Unlike many other immigrants at the time, the Chinese did not arrive with the intention of settling in the new land; they came instead to seek their fortune and then return to China.
In 1881, Gin Lin, a Chinese mining boss who had already successfully mined in other areas of the Applegate Valley, purchased mining claims in the "Palmer Creek Diggings" area. The results of Gin Lin's hydraulic mining operations are evident along this trail.
Hard work paid off for Gin Lin and his laborers. As a result of his mining activities in the Applegate Valley, he deposited over a million dollars worth of gold dust in a Jacksonville bank! This unexpected success of the Chinese miners, coupled with tensions related to cultural differences, aroused many hard feelings among the other miners in the area. Various laws were enacted that unfairly taxed the Chinese, as well as other ethnic minorities, resulting in very few Chinese choosing to stay in the area. Some took jobs helping to build the railroads, but many returned to China.
The actual fate of Gin Lin is uncertain. One source reports that he was robbed and fatally beaten as he got off the ship in China. Although we will probably never know what happened to him, part of his story will remain etched on the moss-covered tailing piles, overgrown ditches and the hydraulic cuts of this once gold-bearing hillside.
At a Glance
|Open Season:||Year Round|
|Water:||Not available. Surface water should be treated.|
|Information Center:||Siskiyou Mountains Ranger District|
- Trail is not designed for: mountain bike, pack and saddle, motorized bike, ATV, 4-wheel drive, barrier free