The fog was rolling through the minty green aspen trees as we bumped up the road towards the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine above Ouray. It was the day after HeidiTown Fest and folks would be returning home, but first, a handful of festival goers were going to embark on one of Colorado’s most unique experiences, an outside, camp-style breakfast followed by a tour of a historic mine.
The Bachelor-Syracuse Mine on Gold Hill was operating on some level for approximately 100 years before it was converted to a tourism destination in the 1980s. Less than 10 minutes outside of Ouray, it’s easy to pop up for breakfast and a tour and be back in time for an afternoon of soaking and playing in the Ouray hot springs.
Ouray exists entirely due to silver and gold mining in the 1880s, so a trip to the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine is to travel back in the town’s history. It’s an experience that transports one back to a time when $3 a day was good money and a hard day’s work may possibly result in death, but first, breakfast.
The mine offers breakfast during the summer starting in May. Served beneath an open air tent and cooked camp style, it’s an affordable way to start your day. Even if you forgo the mine tour, the breakfast is worth a drive to the mine.
I had a farm fresh egg with thick cut bacon, country fried potatoes and toast and a side of biscuits and gravy. My coffee steamed into the moist May air as I tucked into this delicious breakfast.
On the occasional Saturday night in summer, the mine hosts farm-to-table meals. Call (970) 325-0220 to find out if one is happening while you’re in town.
After breakfast we lined up for the 50 minute mine tour. We plucked yellow hard hats off the wall and fitted them securely on our heads. Our mustached guide, Ronnie, is a plethora of mining knowledge, but his presentation is far from boring; his tours are sprinkled with interesting and colorful tidbits that keep everyone, kids and adults, captivated.
We walked single-file into the mine, making our way slowly up the track while listening to Ronnie’s stories. A stream to the right of the tracks rushed out of the mine as we ventured foot after foot into the darkness. The stream has been running at approximately 150 gallons of water per hour for nearly 100 years.
This was my first mine tour and I was apprehensive, but this was a delightful experience despite the dampness of the day. Once we were 1500 feet inside, we took a seat and Ronny shared with us how a miner worked in these deep manmade holes in the ground. For those of us who spend our days working in front of a computer screen this life seems as foreign as living on Mars.
A trip to the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine is a great way to add an affordable and authentically historic experience to your Ouray trip. Adults are $14.99 and children ages 6-12 are $7.99, 5 and younger are free. There are tour discounts for those who purchase breakfast, an option that I highly advise.
Thank you to the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine for hosting us on this outing.