Crystal Gold Mine

Useful Information

Location: 51931 Silver Valley Rd, Kellogg ID 83837.
Interstate 90 exit 54 to the Miner's Memorial, turn left (west) on Silver Valley Road, 3.5 km.
(47.532036, -116.091210)
Open: MAR daily 10-16.
APR to 07-SEP daily 9-18.
07-SEP to OCT daily 10-16.
Fee: Adults USD 23.95, Children (4-12) USD 13.95, Children (0-3) free, Family (2+3) USD 79.95, Additional Child USD 10.95.
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours: D=30 min.
Address: Crystal Gold Mine, 51931 Silver Valley Rd, Kellogg ID 83837, Tel: +1-208-783-4653. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1879 gold bearing vein discovered by Tom Irwin.
1882 mine abandoned.
1991 rediscovered by the landowner, who saw water seeping out of the debris.
1996 sold to the present owner who restored it.
1998 opened to the public.


Crystal Gold Mine was mining a gold bearing quartz vein, which was discovered by the gold prospector Tom Irwin in 1879. He built a cabin and mined the gold alone for three years. There is no record of how much gold or silver he actually mined. The tour shows the tools he used, so-called Hand Steels, which were called Single Jacks and Double Jacks. When he left, he blasted the hillside down to hide the mine with his track, mine car and tools inside. It seems he intended to come back, but he never did, and so the mine was lost for more than a century. Actually it is unknown if this really was the mine of Tom Irwin, as there are no remains who connect him. But he was known to have been the first who mined in this area, and this is actually the oldest mine which is known.

The mine entrance was actually exposed during the building of Interstate 90 in the 1960’s. But this was not noted, nobody cared at that time. The owner of the ground saw water seeping out of the hillside in 1991. He was hoping it was a spring, and started to dig in the loose debris. So he rediscovered the mine entrance and explored the tunnel for some distance. But as it was not the intended spring, he closed it with a piece of plywood. Somehow the retired miner Bill Lane heard about the mine and explored it. With his wife Judy he purchased the land, cleaned the mine and opened it as a show mine. During the works he found high-grade gold ore, which obviously helped financing the development.

The Coeur d'Alene Mining District, also known as the Silver Valley, near Kellogg was discovered by Noah Kellogg in 1885. His donkey went up the hill while he was sleeping, and when he was looking for the animal, he saw the sunshine glittering on something which turned out to be a large outcrop of galena (lead ore). This was the location of the later Sullivan mines at Bunker Hill.

Crystal Gold Mine is now the only one open to the public, and it is famous for the crystals which grew inside the mine during the last 100 years. Smithsonite crystals formed on the quartz vein, there is gold and wire silver. The ore found in the mine is of very good quality, with up to 70 ounces per ton.