We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Just Do it!”

Big Thunder Gold Mine
Ranked #5 of 23 things to do in Keystone
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Big Thunder Gold Mine has an original tour which lasts 45-55 minutes and was founded in 1892. You see the largest display of mining equipment in the Black Hills and learn the history of the gold rush in 1876. We have two forms of panning: one is our commercial panning right on site. Guides will demonstrate theskill of panning, no time limit and we guarentee you will find gold. We also have claim panning where you will pan directly our of the creek 4 miles down the road on Forest Service property. Those exist in 4 hour trips.
Dubuque, Iowa
Level 5 Contributor
51 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Just Do it!”
Reviewed July 19, 2009

After reading many reviews of Big Thunder Gold Mine, I was unsure what to expect. It was one of the highlights of our trip! Our tour guide was wonderful, gave lots of interesting information and was really funny. Our 6 and 10 year old loved it! The tour itself gave you insight to life in a mine and understanding the process. We also panned for gold at the end of the tour, which guaranteed you to find gold, it was so much fun! The tour guide hung out for at least an hour to help show tips to panning. I highly recommend this stop in Keystone!

2 Thank the5hefels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

685 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Fun Place - questionable staff.”
Reviewed July 6, 2009

Big Thunder is a fun place to visit for a quick introduction to the mining industry and a bit of history about the area mines. The tour is interesting and does give you a glimpse into what miners when through. Tour takes about 40 minutes as you walk into and back out of a 600 ft mine.

The staff were interesting to say the least. Many shades of hair and multiple piercings. The woman selling tickets could not have been less interested to be there and liked to complain about the rest of the staff. At one point she cussed about the tour guide that was suppose to be ready to go next.

Overall this was a fun experience. I would recommend it as a couple hour side attraction...but do not expect a highly polished operation.

1 Thank ynpnut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marlton, New Jersey
Level 6 Contributor
685 reviews
395 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 576 helpful votes
“Interesting, but overpriced”
Reviewed September 4, 2008

I went to this last weekend. They wanted almost $10 to tour the mine for a one hour tour which lasted less than a half hour. The guide was okay and gave some interesting information, but seemed very tired and he was hard to understand. He did answer all questions. He said about the miners in different locations only lasting a couple months and I kept thinking, "then why would they take the job?" They had people pan for gold for an additional $8. It was interesting, but I thought that it was only worth about $4 or $5.

2 Thank angeleyes27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Des Moines, IA
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 48 helpful votes
“Interesting but guide was poor”
Reviewed July 6, 2007

Well, this tour was about what I expected as far as content. You get to go into a mine that was long enough to make it interesting.....well, as interesting as a gold mine that took 35 years to dig but only gave up 10 ounces of gold could be.

Then they take you out to a replica mill and explain the milling process. Then, for a couple of extra bucks, you get to pan for gold in a trough. That was actually pretty fun.

However, our guide was either drunk or very very tired because she was extremely hard to understand. I;m not joking about this. She was slurring her speech together and kept forgetting things she wanted to tell us. I mean she was literally standing in front of equipment and would forget to tell us what it was until we asked. She kept making excuses about being tired from doing three tours without a break. Bu I've never seen anyone who was so tired that you could not understand them. And really, how hard is it to walk and talk for three hours without a break?

She was also not very bright. She mentioned the other mines that had been in the area including the "Bullion" mine. She then told us she didn't understand why that had been the name for a gold mine. She said she knew the word was French, and told us to figure that one out. My wife and I had a good laugh about that one.

She also told us that gold fever actually referred to fevers that workers got from working with there hands in Mercury while separating gold from it's ore. That was great until she told us that these men would die every couple of weeks? I mean really....if everybody who did this work dropped dead in two weeks, somebody would have figured it out.

So basically, this place was fun....especially since I had a coupon and it was about what I expected. My kid liked it. But some of the guides left something to be desired.

4 Thank Heartogold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Fort Worth, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
71 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 557 helpful votes
“the hard life of gold miners”
Reviewed June 14, 2005

The Big Thunder Gold Mine allows you to feel and see what it was like to be a gold miner. It was interesting for the adults and children alike, especially if you pay the extra couple of dollars to allow the children to "pan for gold". A good way to spend a couple of hours while visiting the Mount Rushmore/Black Hills area.

14 Thank randallboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Big Thunder Gold Mine also viewed


Been to Big Thunder Gold Mine? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing