The Smuggler Mine is located on the slopes of Smuggler Mountain, on the north edge of Aspen, Colorado, United States. It is the oldest operating silver mine in the Aspen mining district, and one of the few still operating from Aspen's early boom years. In 1987 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Make Smuggler Mine Tour part of your personalized Aspen itinerary using our Aspen road trip planner.
The largest silver nugget ever mined, weighing 1840lb came from Smuggler. At its peak the mine was responsible for nearly one-fifth of the world's total silver output. Its extensive tunnel system reaches more than a thousand feet (300 m) below the entrance, extending under the city of Aspen, although most of the lower tunnels are presently flooded.
Smuggler was one of the few mines in the Aspen area to reopen after the 1893 repeal of the Sherman Silver Purchase Act. It continued producing ore until 1918, and was reopened in the 1970s. In 1984 it was designated a Superfund site after tests found high levels of lead and cadmium in the soil. It took the Environmental Protection Agency 12 years to clean up the site. While it is estimated that nearly a million pounds (400,000 kg) of recoverable ore remain in the mine, it is used as much for tours today as mining. In 2012 it and two nearby lots were put up for sale.
The mine's surface facilities are located in a 9.7acre area enclosed by a chainlink fence off Smuggler Mountain Road (Pitkin County Route 21), on the northeast fringe of Aspen just outside city limits. It is at the base of Smuggler Mountain, at an elevation of above sea level. The slopes of the mountain, to the north and east, are intermittently wooded with scrubby evergreen trees, eventually becoming part of White River National Forest, with the shafts of other mines, now defunct, amongst the trees.
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Smuggler Mine Tour Reviews
It has been a while since I took the tour, but I still remember it as a highlight of my visit to Aspen. What an amazing experience to walk into an adit, climb (up or down) various levels, and come out... more »
This is why Aspen is Aspen. If you love history and authentic experiences you will love this tour. Jay is a real character and be sure to save some time to hear his stories. more »
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