We took the Old Mine Tour with SJB. Our guide Bob (he wisely didn't mention the "crazy" part) picked us up when we arrived on the bus from Durango. Bob turned out to be the nicest, friendliest, most knowledgeable guide we could have possibly asked for. As he drove us up to the mine on a winding dirt road, he gave us lots of information about the area and its history. When we reached the mine, he pulled out a basket full of lunch for us, which we ate at a picnic area. There were sandwiches, chips, cookies, a bottle of water all packed in sling backpacks which we got to keep.
The mine tour lasts about an hour. We left all of our stuff in Bob's truck and he stayed with it while we were in the mine. After the mine tour, we were able to pan for silver and copper. My sons, 10 and 7, had a little trouble getting the hang of it but Bob jumped right in to help them. He was so great with them. He helped them find several nuggets of copper and silver themselves, and whatever he found he gave to them too.
We had arranged to spend the night in Silverton and since we didn't have to rush back to the train Bob gave us a nice leisurely tour. After the mine he took us to a museum back in the center of Silverton. The museum is small but very comprehensive, including historical furniture, displays of mining tools and even an old jail. He waited for us to browse the gift shop and then offered to drive us to our hotel! All the while, he was answering all of our questions and entertaining our boys. They absolutely loved talking to him. Overall the tour was the highlight of our time in Silverton and Bob made it really special.
If you own or manage San Juan Backcountry, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.