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“Blown Away - A Must See”

Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: The only 1,000 foot vertical shaft gold mine tour in the U.S.; the vein was discovered by Mollie Kathleen Gortner in 1891.
Reviewed July 8, 2013

Spent the 4th of July weekend in and around the Pike's Peak/Cripple Creek Gold Mine District. If you are anywhere within 100 miles of Cripple Creek, I highly recommend a visit to the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine. It is well worth the $18 admission price.

On the surface, there were plenty of things to explore while we waited for our tour to begin. They have lots of old mining machinery on display, not to mention the incredible view of the town of Cripple Creek and surrounding area. They have a gift shop with some neat souvenirs, however most of the items were a little expensive. I would have liked to see some more t-shirt options.

The mine tour itself was incredible. You enter the mine via a double-decker man-skip (elevator). We had a full group, so we really had to squeeze into the skip. It was definitely a cramped ride, but watching the timbers go by as we zoomed down the shaft was pretty neat. When we arrived at the bottom of the mine (1000 feet down), I was surprised by how large the tunnels in the mine are. Being taller than average (6'2''), I expected to be hunched over the entire time, but I rarely had to duck my head. On the tour our guide showed us all the different tools used in mining, including an air tram which we rode through part of the mine. During the tour, they give you a real piece of gold ore as a souvenir to take home.

Tips:
Bring a jacket - even if you don't need one on the surface, it is pretty cool down in the mine. There are loaner coats available, but I would recommend having your own (loaners looked dingy).

Plan on visiting around lunch - we just happened to take the tour right before the lunch hour, so we ate at the Hard Rock Diner at the Mollie Kathleen. The food is reasonably priced (they don't gouge you on prices) and quite good. I recommend the buffalo chicken sandwich and onion rings. You can eat outside and enjoy the mountain scenery, or inside one of the old converted rail cars.

Thank McLakley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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"our tour guide"
in 73 reviews
"gold mine"
in 108 reviews
"great tour"
in 46 reviews
"elevator ride"
in 25 reviews
"mine shaft"
in 22 reviews
"tiny elevator"
in 14 reviews
"mining techniques"
in 13 reviews
"hard rock"
in 11 reviews
"hard hat"
in 11 reviews
"under ground"
in 9 reviews
"small cage"
in 8 reviews
"mining experience"
in 8 reviews
"third generation"
in 7 reviews
"tight squeeze"
in 7 reviews
"like sardines"
in 9 reviews
"well worth the money"
in 12 reviews
"unique experience"
in 7 reviews
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466 - 470 of 632 reviews

Reviewed July 7, 2013

I wasn't sure about this tour when I first arrived. The initial impression was not great. But once in the mine and on the tour, I was blown away. It was extremely educational and done in such a way that held even my six-year old's attention the entire time. Our guide, Dustin, was great. He was very informative,affable, and willing to go explain beyond just the basics, I will definitely recommend this to anyone I know heading to the Colorado Springs/ Cripple Creek area.

Thank Valarie C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

Reasonably priced, informative, gave an insight into history of gold mining and past mining technologies, including lives of miners. Demo of how various mining techniques worked from early to latter days. Guide was inspiring and knowledgeable, having been a miner himself and from a family of miners dating back nearly a century!

1  Thank Coolaid J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 3, 2013

We really enjoyed this tour, the mine itself was fascinating and the demonstration of the various machines they used to dig out the rock was ear shattering, one wonders how miners coped with the noise, my head was throbbing after 5 seconds.
The guide [James] was very knowledgable and answered all the questions put to him. A miner's life in those days was tough and the rewards were very small.

1  Thank babaDADA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 26, 2013

The Mollie Kathleen (MK) was fun and adventurous for the entire family. Below are a few comments and tips:

We visited the MK in June 2013. The Mk is located ~1 hour 15 minutes west of Colorado Springs in Cripple Creek CO at an altitude of just under 10,000 ft. Tours are offered every 30 minutes (or as demanded) throughout the day during the summer months. On the day of our visit we arrived at 10:15 and started our tour at 10:30. We visited on a weekday; maybe the crowd would be larger on weekends? From what our guide told us they will run tours as often as required to handle the crowd. On our tour was my family of 4 and 2 other people. Remember to go to the restroom before your tour starts as there are no restrooms in the mine and your tour will last ~ 1 hour. Due to the small size of the elevator down into the mine, no strollers are allowed.

The cost of the tour was ~$18 for adults at ~$10 for small kids. As I will note below we felt the tour was well worth the cost.

Before heading down into the mine you dawn a hard hat and for those who desire they have some coats you can wear (the temperature in the mine is ~55F). You then descend 1000 feet into the ground on a small two deck open caged lift. The cage is no more than 3 foot square and if needed they will pack 6 or 7 folks into the space on each level for the ride into the mine (in mining days 9 men rode in each cage), you will get very close to your neighbor on the ride. The decent takes ~ 2 minutes.

Once into the mine the tunnels are fairly large (large enough for a 6' 4" person to walk upright) and generally wide enough to 2 people. Some areas are large. In general we did not feel claustrophobic, but some may so you might want to think about this before taking the tour.

During the tour you walk though the mine to different stations documenting the history of how they mined gold in the mine. At several stations they demonstrate some of the drilling machinery (for a few seconds) and it is very loud, so you may want to bring ear plugs (none are provided). After approximately 1 hour you return to the entrance shaft to return to the surface. Before you leave the mine you are allowed to take a piece of gold ore from a real gold vein that contains actual gold (not enough to be worth extracting), but real gold. For our entire family including a 7 and 14 year old the tour was fascinating. For the adults there was enough history and factual information to be interesting and for the kids the loud demonstrations really made an impression. All in all a great tour and value for the money.

Our guide was a grandchild (or great grand child) of one of the miners who worked in the mine so he had some family stories to share as well as the general information. He seemed like he really liked taking people into the mine. One note, there is an expectation to tip your tour guide at the conclusion of the tour, so be prepared. I tipped $5, I have no idea if this value was appropriate or not??

After the tour we purchased some souvenirs and ate lunch at the cafe located next to the mineshaft. Overall our visit lasted ~2-1/2 hours.

All in all the Mollie Kathleen was a true highlight of our 2-week trip to CO, UT and AZ. The Adults and kids both loved the tour. We highly recommend going a bit out of your way if needed to see the Mollie Kathleen.

4  Thank PzTravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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