Mining Heritage: Capital Prize

The Authentic Gold Mine Experience

Capital Prize Mine History

The Capital Prize Gold Mine is an authentic 1860s underground walking tour through a tunnel that travels over 1,000 feet into the mountain. The Griffith Brothers began work on the mine in 1867 to reach the major gold and silver of the mother-load (the Aetna vein) at a depth of 3,200 feet.

The Griffith brothers are also well known as the forefathers of Georgetown in 1859. The mine has produced millions of dollars of gold, silver, lead, zinc and copper over the years. Unlike most mines in Colorado, the Capital Prize was never abandoned and operations were continued intermittently until 1969. This continued operation helped preserve the mine site, its equipment and the original blacksmith shop.

The Capital Prize Tour

Visitors can enjoy an easy walk over 1,000 feet into the mountain and see several tunnels. Experience the challenges of working by candlelight, view seven of the 17 gold veins discovered, see the machinery and tools, and explore a stope.

Visitors will also learn about drilling, blasting, and mucking and the importance of mining. The Capital Prize is still an active mine and visitors will see a modern prospecting operation which includes dredges, sluice boxes, classifiers, and shaker tables. In the warmer months, guests can try to find their fortune, or just have fun gold panning outside!

The Capital Prize is open year-round: Winter hours are Fri thru Sun with tours at the top of each hour, 11 am – 2 pm. The tour lasts 50 minutes and is a constant 49 degrees so it’s warm in the winter and a great place to cool off in the summer.

Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Located just west of Denver along Interstate 70, Clear Creek has 396 square miles of public lands to explore, as well as four mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. Clear Creek is comprised of charming mountains towns Idaho Springs, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume, which are all along the I-70 corridor. Learn more about Clear Creek County here.