Mountain Mining

Top Historical Mines to Visit in Colorado

a railway in a mine tunnel

The United States is known for the grandeur of its elevated ski resorts, such as the Sun Valley in Idaho, and for its wild gold rush experiences feet beneath the ground in some of the most well-known areas in America. These include Colorado.

A Brief History of Mining in Colorado

The mining industry had a significant impact on Colorado, particularly during the nineteenth- and early twentieth century. The most important one there was the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, which led to an influx of people coming to the region due to the broader mining industry. As a result of the great number of people coming to work and stay in the region, Colorado developed a powerful social, economic, and political stance.

Despite the identified impact of mining on the environment, it is undeniable that the mining industry has also led to many advantages. Among the most prominent benefits were the immense technological advances brought about by the industry.

Early explorers in the past were in search of gold until the gold rush started. Now, the historic mining areas can be explored by locals and tourists alike. These mining areas in historic Colorado towns offer a peek of the golden mining environment, like mining railroads, for the present people to experience.

Each destination’s beauty and history rely on their own unique story, character, legends, and bragging features. These are among the historic mines in Colorado.

Here are the mine tours available in Colorado, exploring the most historical mines in the area:

a huge mining equipment

Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine Tour

These tours start at the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. The tours also include a historical exploration of the Gold Rush and a guided tour of the modern gold mine. What’s noteworthy of these tours is that all their proceeds are donated to the Victor Lowell Thomas Museum. 

Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour

This is a 1,000-foot-deep tunnel in Cripple Creek and is America’s only vertical mineshaft. The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour paid tribute to the first woman to strike gold in Colorado and was then named after her. A beautiful feature of this tour includes witnessing a small amount of gold still coursing through the gold mine walls. In addition, tourists are also given their own gold nuggets after the tour.

Hidee Gold Mine Tour

The best thing about the Hidee Gold Mine Tour is that you can take home a chip of gold you can get from the mines. Tourists participating in this mine tour are encouraged to chip away gold veins and keep these. These are said to provide tourists with the idea of how hard it is to mine gold. This experience also makes this particular tour special since it shows mining from the miners’ perspective.

Country Boy Mine Tour

Among the features included in this mine tour in Country Boy are a slide down its 55-foot-long ore chute, a chance to see and touch the remaining gold in the area, have your pictures taken with a burro, and of course, explore the mining area itself which is more than a thousand years old and runs 1,000 deep into the earth. 

Just like the Hidee Gold Mine Tour, Country Boy also offers an interactive demonstration of the experiences and perspective of miners’ lives – a feature that hopes to ignite appreciation of the miners and their hard work.

Lebanon Silver Mine Tour

Riders of the Georgetown Loop Railroad may also opt to experience the Lebanon Silver Mine Tour. This historical railroad 500 feet below the ground was opened in the 1870s and ran along with Georgetown and Silver Plume. You may get to see the remaining veins of silver and other mining treasures buried in the area in this optional mine tour.

 Denver Museum of Nature & Science

If you opt for a more on-the-ground and yet equally worthy experience, you can choose to have the Denver Museum of Nature & Science offers. Their museum’s ground floor was turned into a replica of a mineshaft. The walls are also prodded with precious stones and stalactites to offer a visually-appealing experience to tourists.

You may also visit mining museums for a more maximized and worthwhile trip to the area.

  • Creede Underground Mining Museum
  • National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, Leadville
  • Western Museum of Mining & Industry, Colorado Springs
  • Victor Lowell Thomas Museum, Victor

If you want to extend your trip and explore other mines near Colorado, you may also check these other mining tours:

  • Bachelor Syracuse Mine, Ouray
  • Old Hundred Gold Mine, Silverton
  • Hard Tack Mine, Lake City
  • Argo Gold Mine and Mill, Idaho Springs
  • Phoenix Gold Mine, Idaho Springs

On the other hand, a laidback activity you may enjoy in the area after hours or days of exploration is golfing in Colorado’s best mountain courses. Now, if you have become more and more interested in the world’s gold rushes, there are definitely more areas just in North America to explore.

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