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Description

The Billie Class Stamp Mill is an amazing piece of history. It is in the Medicine Bow National Forest very close to the popular Lewis Lake Trailhead but it is seldom noticed.

You are probably wondering what exactly is a stamp mill? In my words, its a big machine that crushes rock so you can get the gold out. Wikipedia has a better description here if you’re interested.

Since a miner could only sell the precious metals and not the rock it was attached to, these were set up as close to the mines as possible so the miners wouldn’t have to haul as much material out of the mountain.

Billie Class set this one up between Lewis Lake and Class Lake. Billie was one of the miners who stuck to this area the longest filing 20 claims in the 1870s and 1880s. I found these two old photographs below that have the Stamp Mill in them. Both come from the American Heritage Center (see note 3) In the first one it is in the left third, vertically centered. In the second one it is in the right third, vertically centered. I wish I knew when they were taken

Billy Class Stamp Mill (close)

Billy Class Stamp Mill (distance)

The Stamp Mill is hard to spot in both pictures but it’s there. I love these pictures for showing what the area used to look like and because the Stamp Mill isn’t the focus of the pictures. It is just accidentally there, almost like a photo bomb on the photographer who was after a scenic view.

Even if you aren’t a big fan of mining history this is a great site to visit.  Check out a few more pictures here. I like to come here and wonder what it was like to live and work most of the year right under the peaks of the Snowy Range.

To get here travel west from Centennial on Wyoming Highway 130.  Before you get to the summit, head into the Sugar Loaf Recreation Area and Park at Lewis Lake.

Then start out hiking on the Gap Lakes Trail but only for a short distance. Veer off the trail and follow the North shore of Lewis Lake.  The mill is at the place where Class Lake drains into Lewis Lake.

Guides

If you are looking for a guide to get you to the Billie Class Stamp Mill

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