Founded in 1887, the Country Boy Mine is one of Summit County’s most historic mines. It’s located two miles east of downtown Breckenridge.
It was well known during its 100-year reign for rich gold and silver production, as well as later for high-grade lead and zinc used during WWI and WWII. The ore brought out of this mine and other Rocky Mountain mines helped form the West and prosperity to the U.S. The Country Boy Mine preserves and showcases this important part of Colorado’s history.
Mine Tour and Gold Panning
Head inside a real gold mine just minutes from one of Colorado’s most popular mountain towns. In addition to touring it guests can pan for gold, pet the burros, slide down a 55-foot ore chute, view the authentic mining relics, and browse the general store.
Mine tours have been offered for more than 20 years in Breckenridge. It usually opens just before Memorial Day Weekend and runs for a few weeks into October. Tours are offered every day during the peak summer season until early September, and then just weekdays until they close for the season in mid-October.
A jacket and good walking shoes are recommended for the tour. Helmets are provided. Tours run at the top of every hour during operating hours, 10 am-4 pm during summer, and 11 am-1 pm after Labor Day. Reservations are not required, just show up 15 minutes for your selected tour.
Gold Panning – Panning includes easy-to-follow lessons, equipment (a gold pan), and a few secrets. Patience is required. You’ll be prospecting in French Gulch, named for French Pete who first discovered gold here.
And where the biggest gold mass ever found in Colorado, nicknamed Tom’s Baby, was found. Keep all the riches you pan in the river. Try your luck for an hour or longer, it’s up to you. Then have fun exploring the authentic mine site.
Mine Site – In addition to touring a real mine, you can enter restored buildings, including the Blacksmith Shop and Compressor House. There are exhibits, complete with old photographs, as well as mining equipment.
There’s also a walking tour, with interpretive signs about the French Gulch, Wellington Mine, which had 18 miles of underground tunnels, Tom’s Baby, and rocks from dredge boats.
General Store – Bring home some classic mining souvenirs, local books, wooden toys, mineral rocks, and enjoy the tasty rock candy. Local jewelry is available, as well as gold panning equipment. It keeps the same hours as the mine.
Summit county’s newest winter attraction is a high-speed, adrenaline-charged trip down a mountain on a hammerhead racing sled. Country Boy Mine’s Alpine sledding course is nearly one Kilometer of snow-covered fun.
Riders are taken up to the mine’s original 1881 entrance high above the valley by snowcat or sleigh and then shoot back down slopes of over 25% back to where they started through a number of huge snaking turns.
Riders can opt for a single run or four bravery testing runs, which will take around an hour to complete. Helmets are highly recommended, and a selection of sizes are available on-site to rent. Average speeds down the course are 20km/h – with some sections being considerably faster. There is also a small fun park available for people that want to sled – but not THAT fast.
Monster Truck Sleigh rides
It’s like a sleigh ride with a twist. Horses can’t handle the long climb to the fantastic views at the top of Country Boy Mine’s property, so Country Boy Mine uses Betsy, a 1948 monster truck with tracks. Each tour includes plenty of fascinating Breckenridge gold mining history, and some amazing views and selfie opportunities.
The road used snakes up the mountain through the forest, and the scenery is breathtaking. When your sleigh gets to the highest point, you can walk on the original tailings pile of the 1880s mine, see the old hippie cabin, and look back down the valley to Breckenridge’s ski slopes.
The entire experience lasts around half an hour – and finishes up with s’mores over a fire (as long as there isn’t a fire ban).
Address: 0542 French Gulch Rd, Breckenridge, CO