Big Thunder Gold Mine is open as usual but times are modified and some procedures. The following are in effect:

  • Masks are highly suggested for the tours.
  • We have 2 tours per hour one every 30 minutes so they do not pass each other in the mine (social distancing).
  • Tours may consist of up to 20 people per tour.
  • Only 1 and 1/2 feet is needed for social distancing during individual tours.
  • We put 2 capfulls of bleach in the troughs to eliminate any virus. Gloves can be used if you are allergic.
  • We practice the 6 foot distance at all troughs for gold panning and gem panning. Every other trough is used.
  • Masks are worn by all guides in the mine for your protection and theirs.
  • The claim experience is in nature by the creek and plenty of space and beauty. 24 hour reservations required.
  • We have a drive thru espresso with sneeze guard.
  • Our restaurant which opened on May 16 will have limited in door seating of 30, outdoor seating on a deck, pick up and delivery available.
  • Consistent sanitizing of all facility.
  • Our hours currently are 8-8 last tour at 3:50.
  • We are very responsible as to making sure every thing is safe for all of our customers. Reservations may be implemented depending on the crowds for the tours. Panning is immediate.

We would love to have you come. Beauty and space is our game and I know you would love it!

See you soon,
Sandi McLain

Open Daily

Open In March Thursdays - Sundays
April 1st
- October 31st  Open Daily
Hours & rates

Gold Prospecting Tips for Panning and Sluicing on a Gold Claim

Hi again!  Well, the Black Hills summer season is upon us.  The Big Thunder Gold Mine is in full swing already, and we're taking customers down to the claims to sluice and pan for Black Hills gold.  Keystone is getting busier and busier with people from all around the country, and we’re getting our fair share of future gold prospecting hobbyists!  We have our own gold claim, where we take groups of people down and teach them how to pan for gold.  The best part?  You get to keep the gold you find! 

Today, I'd like to recommend that all people interested in learning to pan and sluice, or those who do already and want to be able to go to a claim, that they research their local gold clubs. I've never known one to not be full of people ready and willing to help new members.  They’re full of great information and are a valuable resource for anyone looking to start gold prospecting.

You also want to research the Bureau of Land Management, the National Forest Service, and Parks and Recreation in your area to learn the cans and cannots of gold prospecting.  Of course, the internet is a great source of this information along with your local club, like the Black Hills Prospecting Club. Gold prospecting is a fun pastime and going out to a real gold claim is a great experience for anyone.  These places will give you the resources you need to make sure you’re following the proper guidelines.

After you have done some research, grab your pan or sluice and get out there and find some gold! At Big Thunder Gold Mine, we provide half-day and full-day claim panning tours.  We’ll take you down to our private gold claim and teach you how to pan for gold!  This is a great opportunity to get outdoors with friends and family and learn how to do some gold prospecting.  Reservations for claim panning at Big Thunder Gold Mine must be at least 24 hours in advance. Please call us at 605-666-4847 or visit our website to make your claim panning reservation today! Always remember to have fun.


“Keep your pan in the water” 

“Rattlesnake” Randy

Last Modified: