Colorado has a rich history of mining and mineral extraction; in fact, if not for the 1859 Pikes Peak Gold Rush and silver boom of the 1870s and 1880s, Colorado might not be what it is today. Some of these mines still operate to this day, but many of the boom years’ mines and mine shafts have been left abandoned, played out or no longer useful. While it is fun to see the rickety old shafts clinging to the sides of mountains, and tempting to explore the secrets within, visiting an old mine is both dangerous and illegal – you can be cited for trespassing…if you make it out alive, that is. Abandoned mines present multiple hazards from risks of cave-ins to poor air supply. Therefore, if you want to visit a mine, it is best to do so by visiting one of the state’s specially designated tourist mines. The Colorado Division of Minerals and Geology has put together a brochure listing sixteen mines that you can safely tour; many of them are close to the Denver metro area. For more information on tourist mines, visit the Division’s website.