Ever wanted to explore and go deep within a real-life mine? Well, Gold Mine Tours in Colorado is one of the best places to explore the deep caverns man has etched into the earth in an effort to extract her minerals and wealth (gold in this case). This tour of the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine takes one 1,000 feet down - down the deepest vertical shaft one can descend in America.

When many folks think of Colorado, they understandably think of the impressive Rockies. But the mountain state holds some surprises and attractions underground as well. For a very different underground experience, see here for how caves were seen by the Mayans as conduits to the underworld and how they were used ritualistically.

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About The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine

"There's Gold In Them There Hill's!" (In The Hollywood Old-Timey Accent)

One day in 1891 gold was discovered just laying on the surface of the ground. This first discovery was made by Mollie Kathleen Gortner - the first woman in the Gold Camp to discover gold and strike the claim in her own name.

Named after her, the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine is located at the center of the Pikes Pead area attractions. It is halfway between Colorado Springs and the Royal Gorge. To see a real-life ghost boom town, visit Bodie in California - once one of California's largest towns, and now its only residents are the state park rangers.

The mine is located in Cripple Creek and the weather here is pleasant. The Cripple Creek area enjoys around 340 days of sunny weather a year and temperatures 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Colorado Springs. But regardless of the surface temperatures, the mines are a constant 50 degrees (or 10 degrees Celsius). So even in the summer, bring a sweater or jacket.

  • Tip: There Are Plenty Of Other Attractions To Keep One Busy In Cripple Creek!

Other attractions in the Cripple Creek area include:

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Related: These Tours Of Kentucky's Mammoth Cave Are Worth Taking, Ranked By Difficulty

Going On The Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour

This is a great tour for everyone, it is suited for individuals as well as families. It is not a strenuous tour - one need only walk on flat and level ground for about a quarter of a mile, have a short ride on an underground rail car, and be on their feet for most of the hour-long tour.

  • Hours Open: Daily 10:00 am to 4:00 pm
  • Duration: The Tour Lasts Around An One Hour
  • Depth: 1,000 Feet
  • Note: There Are No Restrooms In The Mine
  • Includes: A Ride On The Underground Tram Air Locomotive

This is America's only vertical shaft gold mine tour and is a great way to experience the "Old West" as it was for those stricken with gold fever in the crazy years of the gold rushes. See how life was like for hard rock gold miners of "The World's Greatest Gold Camp" at Cripple Creek, Colorado.

At 1,000 feet the mine shaft is as deep as a 100 story building is high. Witness the evolution of underground mining and see gold veins in their natural state. Watch as the kids get excited as they ride on the underground tram air locomotive.

Tour Tickets

  • Adults: $25.00
  • Children: Aged 3 to 12 $15.00
  • Infants: Aged 2 and Under $2.00

All the tours are guided by very knowledgeable miners proficient in the world of hard rock gold mining and the specific history of the Cripple Creek Gold Camp. On the trip, visitors will get to see several real gold veins. One needn't bring a flashlight or headlamp as the mine shaft and tour areas are well lit.

The shaft ride is much like riding a rather slow elevator. Whereas modern elevators can move at speeds of up to 23 mph, this old-timey contraption can manage 500 feet per minute or 5 mph.

Related: These Historic Tours Are Why Colorado Is The Perfect State For History Lovers

Things To Know About The Tour

The tours are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The tickets are available at the Mollie Kathleen gift shop - only groups of 15 or more can make advanced reservations.

The tour itself is not that claustrophobic, but one with claustrophobia could be uncomfortable for the 2-minute descent down in the shaft and the 2-minute ascent at the end of the tour. As this was a hard rock mine, the miners had to work here so there are no crawl-through spaces on the tour route.

In accordance with state regulations, visitors must wear hardhats, these are of course provided. Also if one is visiting with an infant, one must carry it in a front-mounted baby pack for safety reasons. Unfortunately one can't bring their best friend, doggies are not permitted on the in mine and if they are on the mine property they must be leashed.

Next: What To Know When Visiting The Gold Mines Of Sado, Japan

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