The Quartz Mine once helped support a small mining industry in the 19th Century. This surface mine was active from the 1800s until it was abandoned in 1915. The quartz, used as a filler in paint and as an abrasive, was initially transported from here to the Hudson River by wagon and, later, by train. Quartz normally forms beautiful hexagonal crystals, but the mineral developed at Hidden Valley Preserve as a massive white vein. Today, quartz is primary ingredient in manufacturing glass.
Directions: From the main parking area, follow the Orange Square Trail along the old railroad bed, then turn left onto the Yellow Circle Trail and continue to the quartz mine. The hike is a 40-minute stroll along the banks of perhaps the wildest section of the Shepaug River. The shimmering summer waters are belied by tractor-sized boulders that dot the riverbed. The final section of trail is a series of cool switchbacks carved deep into the hills, which loom above the narrow path. The crunch of quartz pebbles snapping with each step announces the approach to the mine. (1.34 miles one-way)