One of the largest and most fact-supported, land-based treasure stories of modern times in the United States revolves around a prominent, but humble, peak in Southern New Mexico. Milton “Doc” Noss is widely believed to have discovered an amazing cache of treasure and artifacts deep inside a minor peak in the San Andres Mountains, on what is now public land leased and controlled by the US Army. The extent of the reported treasure, and the twists and turns of the discovery, attempts at recovery, and possible theft of the horde by Government officials are well-documented in many other places, most notably and recently in the Gold House series of books by John Clarence.
Unfortunately, VICTORIO PEAK AND HEMBRILLO BASIN ARE ENTIRELY OFF-LIMITS TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE. Seek your own special permission to go there from the proper authorities (it’s not impossible…), but don’t get your hopes up. Consider for a moment also that things like cameras and metal detectors are not very compatible with the security and safety requirements on an active military test range (White Sands Missile Range).
Here is a 2016 picture of Victorio Peak, believed by most to be the location of the main treasure horde:
If you want to take a look at the peak and the surroundings, then here is a link to a Google Earth KML file of the area around Victorio Peak in Hembrillo Basin, with some other items noted as well, including:
- Victorio Peak itself
- Location of the “Bloody Hands” pictographs
- Stone fortress of unknown origin
- Cabin site
- Another building site (likely associated with modern mining)
- The Point of Rocks, for easy reference
If you look at the satellite view surrounding the peak, you will note a great deal of bulldozed roads and excavated openings. Someone put in a lot of time and effort searching for and/or recovering something from that hill!
The Bloody Hands pictographs feature prominently in aspects of the story relating to where Doc buried little caches of Gold bars here and there, as well as in the aspect of the story regarding the theft of the main horde by military-associated personnel. The inside of the book Jacket of the first Gold House book is a map supposedly recovered from Noss’ belongings after his death, and the keen eye will spot two glyphs that look very much like a representation of “Bloody Hands” just to the north of the presumed marking for Victorio Peak (main peak with a stick figure on top).
The stone fortress to the North of the peak is shown below (2016 photograph), and nothing definitive as to its origin is currently known.
The Point of Rocks is an area where Noss is said to have buried a number of small caches immediately prior to his untimely death, but this part of the tale comes from a drifter unfamiliar with the area who was pumped full of drinks and asked to chauffer Noss around all night making the burials. Something may have been recovered by the drifter (Tony Jolley), however, as he is reported to have returned to the area many years later once the dust had settled a bit, and recovered at least a few of the Gold bars.
The following audio file is a very small snippet from many days worth of what was recorded during the last search of Victorio Peak by claimants to the treasure. In it, Soldier’s Hole is mentioned, and the ‘feller in the picture below just so happens to have left his initials there quite a few years before all of the most recent activity at the site.
There’s lots more information and one-of-a-kind data in the archives on this favorite modern treasure tale, and if folks click on the advertisements a few times here and there (this generates a few pennies for the site each time), then more will probably make their way into fresh posts.
And, don’t despair regarding the land status of the basin itself. Some say that Doc actually got some treasure over in the Caballo Mountains, just one range to the West, and a lot closer to the pavement, and that Hembrillo was only one of several locations, or even a ruse! There’s also the whole Point of Rocks and other areas in the vicinity to check out, as well, based on descriptions of him having cached smaller numbers of bars here and there.