COVID-19 Notice: We are operating during this time under new policies. For more information, Click here
COVID-19 Policies: Guides and guests are required to wear masks at all times while touring and while in the Mercantile. (Our county issued a mask order on July 2.) We are only booking tour groups of up to 15 people. Tours start at the ground floor of the mill, go up multiple flights of stairs, into the tunnel, and then back down to the panning yard. We have staff following tour groups to disinfect all surfaces and hard hats as one of the cleanest Idaho Springs attractions. Note: Reservations are encouraged.
Hours of Operation
Note: Our schedule is subject to change. It is recommended to book online or call ahead to confirm availability.
Hours The Mercantile is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 6 pm, our last guided tour is variable by season.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes ahead of your tour. Group rates available to 25+ persons only and reservations are required.*
*During COVID-19 restrictions, groups are limited to 15 people or fewer. Learn more about our COVID-19 policies.
Due to Colorado’s weather and ever-increasing year-round popularity, Interstate 70 can experience high volumes and delays during peak periods, particularly on weekends. Plan ahead for visiting Idaho Springs attractions by checking your preferred map app, or the Colorado Department of Transportation’s website cotrip.org for traffic updates. We offer rain checks or will attempt to place you later in the day if space is available.
For the safety and protection of our young visitors, all children under 40 inches tall must be accompanied by an adult holding their hand or carrying them through the tunnel during all visits to the Argo Tunnel.
Due to the extreme vertical terrain and architecture of the mill, the guided tours are not accessible to some people. We do provide interesting activities and experiences for all ages and abilities. Please call for additional information.
The tour is not stroller-friendly. Strollers are allowed in the Mercantile and may be left there while you enjoy your tour. The Argo is not responsible for lost or stolen items.
Pets are allowed if they can be carried for the duration of the tour. Please be mindful of licensed service animals and their handlers.
We strongly recommend guests wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes to our Idaho Springs attractions and to dress as if you are going on a hike: multiple layers for multiple kinds of weather.
Backpacks are absolutely allowed, as well as front and back baby carriers.
We understand the complexities of traveling in the mountains. If it is evident that you are unable to make your scheduled tour due to factors beyond your control, such as unexpected severe weather, shutdown of Interstate 70, or unforeseen traffic delays, we offer refunds if you call ahead of your tour time and let us know. However, please check and plan for these events as they are quite common when traveling to Idaho Springs attractions. No call, no shows will NOT receive a refund.
The Argo Mill and Tunnel provides educational tours to groups from all over the world. It is a great destination for K-12 Student field trips to experience Colorado Gold Mining History. While the tour is fun and interesting for all ages, this is one of the Idaho Springs attractions that is perfect for STEM classes as it is an engineering and technological marvel of the Industrial Revolution. The Mill and Tunnel and surrounding land provides educators a hands-on, up close and personal approach to learning. Continued development of the historic site and its place in the fabric of the community provide awareness of our existing resources and enhance public understanding of our past and present. We’ll help transport your students back in time to understand gold rush history and the implications of mining and milling. With real-life examples, we’ll teach students about a day in the life of a miner, the state-of-the-art technology used, and the cost of trying to strike it rich. This is one of the Idaho Springs attractions where tours can be tailored to the age and interests of the students and classes.
The Minerals Education Coalition’s (MEC) mission is to identify, produce, and disseminate fact-based K-12 education lessons and activities on minerals. MEC creates original educational lessons, activities, videos, and other supplemental materials, and features mineral and mining resources gathered from other providers.
The weather for Idaho Springs, although beautiful, can be unpredictable! In the summer, temperatures range widely at Idaho Springs attractions. The Argo Mill can be drafty and cool, so please bring jackets. You might need them even during the summer!
If you are worried about stormy weather and are not sure if we’re open, please call ahead. Snow and/or seasonal temperatures from October to May can prevent us and other Idaho Springs attractions from operating. Don’t forget to dress warmly! The tour is predominantly outdoors, so jackets, gloves, and hats are highly recommended.
The tour itself is an hour long, but included in the admission price is a gold panning experience, so your entire visit to the Argo should last around 1.5 hours.
The tunnel stays around 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit all year round. It is refreshing to enter on a hot day, or a cold day!
You ascend 100ft vertically over a course of 5 stair cases. But we take it slow! Almost anyone can do the tour.
Yes. We guarantee you find and take home some real 24 karat gold!
The tour is $25.00 for adults, $20.00 for children and children under 4 are $4.00 unless strapped to a parent (young infants).
Absolutely! Our guides are excellent at entertaining young and old, those with mining knowledge and those without.
Yes, for a $15.00 charge you will have access to the museum accompanied by a tour guide, for about 15 minutes, this activity is dependent on season and staffing available. Please call ahead to make this unique reservation: 303-567-2421.
Yes. We offer gemstone panning and gold panning separately from the tour, and those activities require no reservation. Gemstone panning highly recommended for children 6 and under.
Yes, you are escorted throughout the mill and the tunnel with a highly informed tour guide, able to answer questions and keep the entire family entertained.
It is recommended but not required to wear close toed shoes. Outerwear recommendations are dependent upon the season, so please check local weather for Idaho Springs before coming to the Argo.
No. The Argo Mill and Tunnel stopped production in Jan 1943.
The Argo Mill processed 3 trillion dollars worth of gold by today’s monetary standards.
There were 200 miles worth of mining tunnels connected to the Argo, estimated to be around 40-50 mines.
Mill construction began in 1903, it was completed in 1913. That makes it 107 years old in 2020.
Yes, you can still find gold- but like a good fishing spot, no one will tell you where!
The tunnel flooded in 1943, 4 men lost their lives and the west end of the mill was destroyed. The connecting mines were also flooded. Additionally, gold was not a strategic metal for World War II – hence it remained closed.
It would not be cost efficient to reopen the area for mining or to get the mill operating. Labor, equipment and chemicals would cost more than the gold extracted.
Yes, they were looking for what we call the BIG FIVE: copper, zinc, lead, silver and gold.
The tunnel was at one point 4.2 miles long. Today, we are able to access only 150 feet of the tunnel until we reach the bulkhead door, preventing future flooding.
No, but it was one of the largest. There were mills in Cripple Creek and Telluride that were of similar size. It is one of the best preserved mills in the world.