Big Thunder Gold Mine

We debated about stopping for lunch in Keystone after visiting Mount Rushmore but between the snacks we ate in the car while driving the Needles highway and the ice cream we got at Mount Rushmore no one was all that hungry.  

Instead we headed to Big Thunder Gold Mine for a tour of the mine.  We only had a few minutes to wait for the next tour.  They gave us these lovely hardhats to wear. 

I didn't take many photos inside the mine and even when I tried to they didn't come out very well since it was quite dark in there.  We learned about how unlucky this mine was for the two owners.  While there are some really successful gold mines in the area Big Thunder was never one of them.

We learned how gold mining changed over time and the different tools and techniques they used.  I could not get over how dangerous a job it was!  I mean I knew mining was dangerous but most of the miners lived less than a few years once they began mining.

After our tour we headed into the big barn on the property and learned what happened to the gold once it was mined. How it was processed, transported, and treated.

Once we were done with the tour we had time to pan for gold and gems.  My husband and older son went for gold mining and my middle son wanted to pan for gems.

The gold that either Ian or my husband collected (we couldn't tell which vial belonged to which after we left).

Other posts from this trip include:

Driving from Denver to Cheyenne
Where we stayed in the Black Hills
Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Trail
Driving the Needles Highway through Custer State Park
Visiting Mount Rushmore
Visiting the Reptile Gardens
Visiting Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo


  1. Awesome! I didn't know mining was that dangerous either.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Yeah, some of these miners were crazy too; willing to risk their lives for way to little reward. (I thought!).

  2. I always see these gold mines when traveling out west, but I've never stopped at any. How interesting, and such a learning experience for your boys.

    1. My oldest so is obsessed with gold mining (to the point he used to talk about going to the Klondike and setting up his own operation for open mining) so when I heard we could pan for gold and tour a mine I just knew we had to take him there.

  3. This is so fun!! Great find of stones, too!

  4. It looks like a fun place to visit here :) Thanks for sharing at The Weekly Link Up.


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