If you’ve ever wondered why I drive a beaten up Volkswagen Jetta, it’s because I’m very rich. My family owns a gold mine in Boulder, Colorado.
I’m kidding about being rich. I’m not kidding about the gold mine.
It’s called the Pilot Mine. I can’t tell you where it is or how to get there; plus, it’s on private property so you’re not allowed to dig around (pun unintentional) and find it.
But, because there’s so little information on it on the Internet, I thought I’d share a few images of this red hidden gem. Who of you knew that Colorado was sprinkled with abandoned mines?
The Pilot has been around since the late 1800s, sometimes producing and sometimes not producing small amounts of gold due to inconsistent operating and outside factors, including the Great Depression and World War II. (The Boulder Daily Camera has a more detailed account of its history, including a really lovely quote from my grandmother.)
My grandfather bought it in the ’60s, after a local businessman (Eads was his name, check out the sign below) came to him and begged him to take it off his hands. My grandfather bought it site unseen, and my mom has told me that it took them several trips up to the mountain just to figure out where it was.
Now, you might be wondering if there’s still gold to be dug up here. For that answer, I once again refer you to my Jetta.
Although the mine looks big from the outside, inside feels quite small. My uncle spent some time trekking to other historic Colorado gold mines to gather mining materials from the era the Pilot was in operation, including a massive ore bucket and some huge bellows. These things help to contribute to what it must have actually felt like when the mine was in operation.
I spent a lot of time here as a kid, and only recently realized how strange that is—I mean, it’s an abandoned gold mine! But, to me, it was just where we went for dozens of picnics, hundreds of hikes and thousands of good times.
There’s a lot of history here, both involving Boulder and my family.
I hope you enjoyed photos from our secret spot.