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“Skip things you don't want to do”

Big Thunder Gold Mine
Ranked #4 of 21 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.
Eagan, Minnesota
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Skip things you don't want to do”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 13, 2010

My kids really wanted to see a gold mine while we were in the Black Hills, so we picked this one. The mine tour itself was fine and interesting - learned about the futility of most of the mines in the area. Guide kept my kids (ages 8-11) and the adults interested (ages 8-11). However, we had already prepared the kids that we in no way were going to do gold panning. No interest in doing that, and seemed really expensive for the experience. A touristy destination, but we got out of it what we wanted to.

1 Thank Mike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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595 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
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English first
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Great mine tour and gold panning, especially for kids”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2010

We took the mine tour and then followed up with about an hour and a half of panning for gold. The mine tour was very interesting with some added fun provided by our tour guide "panner Tanner"; he even let the kids push the detonator plunger. Following the tour, Tanner spent a lot of time with the kids, showing then exactly the right way to pan for gold. All kids found gold and had a great time. I definitely recommend this during your visit to Keystone.
TC from Seattle

3 Thank Ted29Seattle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sarnia, Canada
Level Contributor
38 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“do not go”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 20, 2010

Our family went to Big Thunder Gold Mine during the Sturgis Bike Rally what a mistake. The tour was only about 20 minutes and it was way overpriced. It cost us around 40.00 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I would not recommend this trip to anyone. In the end they didn't even really get any gold out of this mine so why call it a gold mine.

1 Thank jasmine155011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Best tour in the Black Hills!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 14, 2010

If not the best we've ever done!

We brought the family here because my sister had gone through a few years ago and told us it was a must-see.

It was a great experience from the get-go. As soon as we walked in the door, the man behind the counter (I don't remember his name but he was a Cardinal's fan), struck up a friendly conversation, asking us where we were from, and other questions. He definitely made us feel welcome immediately.

After a short wait—about 15 minutes—the tour was ready to begin. It was a blast! Our guide, Matt, took the time to learn all the kids names, and there were over a dozen on the tour! He had the children go up front to see easier and somehow managed to keep their attention throughout the whole thing! I can't even do that!

The tour was lovely. It was about an hour and we learned so much fascinating stuff about the Black Hills and mining. Matt still remembered all the kids' names at the end!

After the tour we panned for gold. Matt informed us up front that we weren't going to make tons of money doing this, but that it was the experience and education that made it worth it. He was right, we didn't get a lot (about 5 flakes each), but it was great. The kids kept talking about it the entire rest of the trip.

Definitely recommended!


1 Thank mtg28
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Naperville, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Stay away!!”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2010

For an attraction for youth, this is a big rip off. Kids should have fun while panning for "gold" with minimal rewards at least. Not a single spec of "gold" and a huge disappointment for the child. How do you explain the results when the implied promise was just the opposite. Save your money. Never again.

1 Thank travelor60563
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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