Gold and Silver Mine and Mill Tours
Explore the history and heritage of Clear Creek County as you venture back into the late 1800s and early 1900s while you experience a well rounded tour of mining history from one side of the County to the other. Each tour offers something unique and provides tremendous information about our segment of Colorado History, the Gold Rush, and general information about hard rock mining, placer mining, milling, and so much more!
Argo Mill and Tunnel
The mill and tunnel provided employment for over eighty years to thousands of miners. Over two hundred million dollars of rich ore was sent directly to the smelters in Denver; the Argo Mill and Tunnel recovered over one hundred million dollars of gold values and these values were calculated when gold was $18.00 to $35.00 per ounce.
The five-story mill was renovated and opened to the public as a historic and educational tour in 1978. Most of the equipment used for processing the gold ore remains in place. The bottom level of the mill serves as a museum displaying mining and milling artifacts, old payroll records, milling receipts, and old photographs. Each year, the “Mighty Argo” tours guests from all fifty states and many foreign countries. The Argo Mill and Tunnel is a favorite educational and entertaining outing for many public schools who bring students from all grade levels including, engineering students from the Colorado School of Mines.
The Argo Mill and Tunnel has been featured in many national publications and has been the set for several film productions. Because of the historic significance and impact that the Argo Mill and Tunnel played in local and state mining history, it was placed on the National Historic Register by the Department of the Interior in 1977.
Contact the Argo Mill and Tunnel for tours and gold/gemstone panning. Open year round (weather permitting) during the winter please call to confirm they are open. Hours from Memorial Day to Labor Day are 10am to 6pm. Tours run at the top of the hour – the first tour is at 11am, the last tour is at 4pm.
2350 Riverside Drive
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
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Capital Prize Mine
The Capital Prize Gold Mine is an authentic 1860s underground walking tour through a tunnel that travels over 1,000 feet into the mountain. The Griffith Brothers began work on the mine in 1867 to reach the major gold and silver of the mother-load (the Aetna vein) at a depth of 3,200 feet. The Griffith brothers are also well known as the forefathers of Georgetown in 1859. The mine has produced millions of dollars of gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper over the years. Unlike most mines in Colorado, the Capital Prize was never abandoned and operations were continued intermittently until 1969. This continued operation helped preserve the mine site, its equipment and the original blacksmith shop.
Visitors can enjoy an easy walk over 1,000 feet into the mountain and see several tunnels. Experience the challenges of working by candle light, view seven of the 17 gold veins discovered, see the machinery and tools and explore a stope. Visitors will also learn about drilling, blasting and mucking and the importance of mining. The Capital Prize is still an active mine and visitors will see a modern prospecting operation which includes dredges, sluice boxes, classifiers and shaker tables. In the warmer months, guests can try to find their fortune, or just have fun gold panning outside!
The Capital Prize is open year round: Winter hours are Fri thru Sun with tours at the top of each hour, 11am – 2pm. The tour lasts 50 minutes and is a constant 49 degrees so it’s warm in the winter and a great place to cool off in the summer. Please wear comfortable walking shoes.
Contact the Capital Prize Mine for tour information. Open year round.
1016 Biddle Street
Georgetown ,CO 80444
Visit the Capital Prize Mine website
Edgar Experimental Mine
Students and staff at the mine conduct guided tours for groups of ten or more (with reservations) throughout the year. Tours generally last one hour, but can be tailored to accommodate some special requests. More than one-half mile of underground workings representing over 100 years of mine development are covered on the tour. Lighted displays showing drilling, blasting, and mucking equipment are displayed on the mine tour and items of discussion include mining practice, mining economics, and the role of the mining industry in modern society. The mine is usually relatively dry and a constant 54 degrees Fahrenheit, year-round. CSM provides hard hats for tour members, but guests are asked to wear warm clothing and sturdy walking shoes. Sorry, but the mine is not wheelchair accessible.
Contact the Edgar Mine to schedule a tour, as they are by appointment only for groups of 10 or more.
365 8th Street
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
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Lebanon & Everett Mines
Enhance your train ride with an optional walking tour of the Lebanon or Everett Silver Mine, located at the halfway point on the railroad. The tours takes you from 500 – 1,200 feet into a mine tunnel bored in the 1870s. Your guide will point out rich veins of silver and tell you about early-day mining. The Lebanon Mining Company finally strikes the Hise Lode 1,100 feet from the portal. Profitable veins are found and the company enjoys an excellent reputation as a solid producer.
In 1885, the Lebanon is one of only 50 mines in the Georgetown area still producing ore. The tunnel reached its greatest length of 1,200 feet in 1886, but drastic silver prices declined ending further work. By the end of the decade, the mine was silent.
The temperature inside the mine is a constant 44 degrees Fahrenheit, so be sure to bring a jacket!
This is a walking tour lasting approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes so comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The tour also includes visits to the manager’s office, the miners’ change room and the tool shed with optional panning for gold.
Contact The Georgetown Loop Railroad for silver mine tour information
646 Loop Drive
Georgetown ,CO 80444
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Phoenix Gold Mine
Located two miles west of Idaho Springs in the famous Trail Creek Mining District. Your host is Al Mosch, a gold miner in Clear Creek County for over 60 years who is a third generation miner. In fact the Mosch family is the longest continuing mining family in Colorado!
Al, with the help of his family and many, many volunteers, reopened the Phoenix in 1980 exposing a very high grade vein, (which you will see on the tour). Along with the Phoenix vein, the Resurrection vein was also discovered. Al says “The Phoenix gold ore is left in place until gold prices go up enough to pay to remove the gold. The small miner has it as rough as ever when it comes to processing their ore. Unless you can afford to build your own mill and assay office, the closest one to Colorado is in Montana.”
Due to Al’s knowledge of history this tour is considered by many to be the best gold mine tour anywhere, anytime!
Contact The Phoenix Mine for gold mine tour and panning information. Open 10 am – 6 pm daily – Winter tours are weather permitting
800 Trail Creek Road
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Visit the Phoenix Website