Finding Gold at the Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge Colorado

The town of Breckenridge Colorado was built on the quest for gold and a great way to learn about that history and the Colorado gold rush, especially with kids, is through a tour of the Country Boy Mine.

Country Boy Mine Breckenridge Ski Resort

The Country Boy Mine is located two miles from downtown Breckenridge and lets visitors go down into a real mine shaft and learn what it was like for the hard rock miners.

Located amidst the beautiful Rocky Mountains, Country Boy Mine was the largest and most famous gold mine in Breckenridge. The mine is only open May – October, so it’s a great summer or fall activity.

Another plus, even though the Country Boy Mine is just out of town, the Breck FreeRide shuttle has a stop that drops off nearby so you don’t need your car to visit.

What to Expect on the Country Boy Mine Tour

I’d rather be a rancher than a miner. The tunnels are dark, especially when it’s just candlelight. It’s cold, the mine is a constant 45 degrees year-round. It’s damp, miners worked with their feet in freezing underground waterways that originated in the snowcapped mountains.

Then there were the rats. Miners introduced rats to the tunnels because the rats would warn the miners of trouble, guiding them out of the mine with their red eyes.

Guest to the Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge, CO can see first hand the working conditions of the miners and get a glimpse of life in a turn of the century mining town by witnessing 1,000 feet of the original mine.

My children, at 8, 12 and 14 were surprised to learn they would have worked as blast monkeys, handling the dynamite and making sure all the blasts went off.

Even in summer, it’s still cold in the mine, so dress appropriately. The good news, guests to the Country Boy Mine walk on boards, so you don’t have to worry about wet feet, and thankfully the only rat we saw was a plastic one.

Life as a Breckenridge Gold Miner

Working in the gold mines of Breckenridge was definitely a tough way to make a living, but I can see how the fraternity of the hard rock miners would be preferable to the solitary life of the early gold panners.

Miners clocked in and out with a brass token. If the token was missing at the end of a shift, they knew which miner to look for in the mine. Miners were given clothes to wear during their shift. The mine operators wanted to make sure workers didn’t sneak any gold home with them.

Miners would sometimes keep the dynamite warm inside their shirts because extreme temperatures could ignite the sticks. Talk about a hazardous job.

Country Boy Mine Grounds

After the underground tour, we spent some time panning in the river for gold, just like the original gold panners. It’s amazing they didn’t freeze their fingers off, that water was very cold and we were gold panning in July, not December. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any real gold.

We also enjoyed touring the grounds looking at the memorabilia; my favorite, a dynamite warming tray so the miners (or more often the blast monkey) didn’t have to keep the dynamite inside their shirt to keep it warm and stable.

I enjoyed the Ore Chute slide just as much as my kids. It’s not graceful getting started, but the trip down the slide is like a gold nugget flying down the ore chute.

While you are Country Boy mine, say hi to the resident donkeys or my buddy Blizzard, the owner’s Newfoundland who is more often than not cooling off on the concrete floor inside the gift shop.

Hike to Another Mine in Breck

If you enjoy learning about mining at the Country Boy Mine, take the Iowa Hill Mine Hike, through the Breckenridge Heritage Alliance, or visit on your own. The trailhead is right off Airport Rd. in Breckenridge, so it’s easy to find.

The hike itself is short and has lots of old mine equipment on display to break up the walking. The Iowa Hill Mine Trail was my 8 –year-old’s favorite hike.

If you are in Denver, the Colorado History Museum has a mining display that is very well done and interactive.

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Sue Rodman | Co-Founder

Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories. @SueRodman

Sue Rodman

Sue Rodman

Co-Founder at 365 Atlanta Traveler
Sue came to Atlanta after finishing the Walt Disney World College Program where she was a tour guide then guest relations hostess (and no she did not moonlight as Snow White). Sue spent 25 years in PR before adding freelance travel writing to her resume. Prior to 365 Atlanta Traveler, Sue published an award winning family travel blog called Field Trips with Sue for eight years, and produced a TV segment with the same name on CBS Better Mornings Atlanta. Her favorite place to visit is anywhere with her husband and three sons. Sue believes anytime is a good time for dessert and there are no bad field trips, just better stories.
Sue Rodman

1 Comment on "Finding Gold at the Country Boy Mine in Breckenridge Colorado"

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