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No Gold, But Plenty of Riches In Eldorado Canyon

Where: Eldorado Canyon Mine [map]
September 6, 2012 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

One of the really cool things about the Las Vegas area is that before it was a casino haven in the 40s and 50s Vegas was an old stopover on the pioneer trails. What were all these people looking for as they traveled through Vegas back before casinos? Well, exactly the same thing as they are now -- to strike it rich!

Vegas wasnít known, though, for big strikes of gold back then and, unless you're really lucky at the casino, it isnít known for tons of riches now, either. The cool part about gold mines and casinos alike, however, is the really neat history they leave behind.

About 45 minutes from The Strip in Eldorado Canyon lies a really great adventure for thrill seekers, a tour through a once fully operational gold mine. In true vintage style, there are no fancy elevators, high-tech equipment, or gadgets here. Instead, you are taken back to the times of pick axes, dynamite and canaries! For a while, the mine was ignored by most major tour operators in favor of bigger hot spots such as the Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, and Valley of Fire. However, in the past few years, tour companies have picked up on this unique location and have begun offering really interesting options.

There are a multitude of different tours which all offer unique ways of transport to the mine itself. Horseback, ATV, kayak, helicopter, or jeep/bus seem to be the most popular options. And, they all sound like a great deal of fun in their own right. As we alluded to last week when we described our ATV experiences, the ATV can be a lot of fun, however, it might not be best suited for this. We think horseback would be most appropriate! The kayaks might be a close second. We haven't ventured into the water as of yet, but plan on it real soon! We'll report back when we do.

No matter how you get to there, the mine offers really neat photo opportunities and some interesting history. Side note: If you hope to get any decent pictures inside the mine itself, you will likely need something better than a point and shoot! The tour guides make this an enjoyable experience so make sure to ask questions as most in this industry are passionate about what they know. This is where the real fun can be had! Our guide was really engaging, sharing all the ins and outs of the equipment and providing real insight into what life would have been like.

The mine, as one would imagine, is not for claustrophobic people. But, if you donít consider yourself claustrophobic, you will be fine. The stories, artifacts and landscape keep you so busy you hardly notice that you are below ground level. Above ground, there are all sorts of neat things to check out such as this crashed plane below. We wonít ruin the story behind it, you will have to check this one out for yourselves. There is also a general store with all kinds of artifacts and other fun bits which really adds to the atmosphere and helps to take you back to that time.

Tours can be had for as little as $12.50 through Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours if you find your own way there. If you are just considering the tour alone, just know we would recommend this as part of a bigger day as itís more of a stop along a journey than a journey in itself.

If you want to take the full tour package plunge they range as high as $155 and if you want the full helicopter VIP treatment those can be had, too, for around $400 a person. Although, as we mentioned, several tour companies offer different transport options that come somewhere in between.

The tour is completely family friendly so feel free to bring everyone along. Having said that, donít miss out on this great time! It takes you back to a fascinating period in American history. Combined with awesome pictures that will make your friends jealous, itís a great way to spend a day if you want to stay away from all the main Strip attractions and do something unique!

Sound like a good time? Let us know below! Or, have you already been? If so, how did you like it?

[Photos: www.grandcanyonhelicoptersaz.com]

Archived Comments:


I did the ATV experience here a couple years ago (versus Valley of Fire) and it was a blast.  Didn't make it into the mine on that trip but it sounded like a cool unique experience.