Loretto, California Mining Camp

Loretto, California was a copper mining region in Death Valley in northern Inyo County.

Though mining in the area dated back to the late 1880s, no actual development was completed until the early 20th century and the mining camp was established in 1906. Along with other copper belt neighbors Ubehebe and Greenwater, Loretto boomed briefly.

For a time, the camp boasted several sturdy stone cabins and businesses as well as about 150 people. The district even attracted the attention of steel magnate and mining investor Charles Schwab. A smelter was built, but the ore was found to be rich only near the surface and did not continue deeper. Soon, the camp was abandoned. In the 1970s, the Bristlecone Copper Company came in to rework the mine dumps and built a modern smelter. After recovering a few hundred tons of copper ore, it shut down in 1977.

Today the area features a few stone walls, mining portals, and mining equipment. The old site is located off of Loretto Mine Road, southeast of Deep Springs, California.

© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated December 2020.

Also See:

Death Valley Ghost Towns & Mines Index

Characters of Early Death Valley

Death Valley, California

Death Valley Ghost Towns in Nevada