A couple of years ago we only had a few days for our anniversary so we spent a long weekend in Idaho Springs here in CO. It’s only an hour or so away and was a nice but short getaway. While in the area we decided to a tour of the Phoenix Gold Mine. We had been to a few cave tours like Carlsbad Caverns in NM, but never a gold mine. This was new and different for both of us, and we were excited for our tour.
I am going to share a little history about the mine before I share our experience. According to their website, the Phoenix Gold Mine is a family business was purchased in 1868 by their family of 4th generation Colorado Miners. They estimate that the mine has produced over 100,000 troy ounces of gold. For those of you who didn’t know, like me, one troy ounce is equal to 1.097 standard ounces.
In 1988 they decided to share their passion for prospecting, mining, and panning for gold with others by offering tours. During the tours they talk about geology, history, and mining equipment. You will see 2 different gold veins (gold in its natural setting). Both gold veins are beautiful and quite different because of their mineral content. You will learn about how gold is extracted from the rock and processed to its pure form in our underground mill. It is quite an interesting process.
The day of our tour we got there a little early and waited while the group in front of us finished their tour. We met some of the people that were going to tour with us and were given these fancy hard hats to wear during the tour. You can see our group all ready to go in the picture below.
Our tour guide was not only a guide, but one of the owners. Not surprisingly he was very informative and knew everything about the mine and its working. He explained things in a way that we could understand and really appreciate the impact they have had here in Colorado and area. I felt we were very lucky to have him lead us around and answer any questions we had.
Sadly I don’t remember all the stories he shared, but he was definitely entertaining and I highly suggest doing your own tour and see what you can learn and maybe go home with a trinket of gold if you wish to try your luck at panning for gold.
Tours are given on the hour and each tour is about 1 hour. Tours include a hands-on gold panning lesson with our combo package. Things to note, tours consist of less than 500 feet of walking, but temperature is approximately 45 degrees Fahrenheit. A light jacket or sweatshirt is recommended. One other thing, the Phoenix Mine Company is also dog friendly and more than happy to accommodate your furry friend(s) as long as they are on a leash, get along with other dogs, and are comfortable around other people.
We had a great time touring the mine and definitely learned a lot. If you are in the area, I highly suggest doing a mine tour, especially the Phoenix Gold Mine. Here is a link to their website. You won’t be disappointed. Please drop a comment if you have been on this tour or a similar tour. Would love to hear about your experience. Happy Travels.
Phoenix Gold Mine Visitor Information
800 Trail Creek Road – Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Monday thru Friday 10 am – 4 pm
(Reservations required for the 4pm tour)
$25 Adults (17- 64)
$20 Children (4-16)
FREE Babies (0-3)
$20 Seniors (65+) & Veterans (show ID)
15% Clear Creek County Residents (show ID)
Take US-6 W and I-70 W to 3rd Ave in Idaho Springs. Take exit 239 from I-70 W.
Q: What is the accessibility for someone physically challenged?
A: Tunnel openings are wide; the pathways are mostly flat with ore car rail. There are no steps. Some can navigate the path with crutches or a walker. Manual wheelchairs have been accommodated with extra assistance. Please call ahead & they will be happy to assist.
Gold Panning Lesson
A: They can provide a stool or chair to sit on during the panning lesson if you ask for one beforehand.
A: They have a few handicapped parking spaces available beside the gift shop which is located near the mine entrance. Parking lot is covered with gravel. If Creekside Panning is open, you may also park alongside the road by the panning building for easy access to gold panning (please let one of their staff members know that you are parked there).