Mines of the Argo
Central City, Colorado

Intro

Smart Warnings

A hole straight to hell. Stay away!

Exploring abandoned mines is deadly dangerous. You should not do it. Here are a few voices giving their opinions on why, given with the hope that one of them is persuasive enough to keep you from doing something stupid.

My Warning

Like many other places I have written about for this website, following in my footsteps could be the last thing you do, so leave it to me. I took on the risk after more than a decade of deep mine experience and only after studying the hazards and figuring out how to minimize them. Save the time, and possibly your life, and enjoy the these places through the photos and stories here, and not in person.

A warning from Dr. Muchow, Founder of Chain O’ Mines, 1952

“Do not enter any of the old vacated old buildings. Some are built directly over a shaft, hundreds of feet deep – mostly filled with water. This is old mining country – a dangerous field for inexperienced mountain driving and foot climbing. The hills are full of excavations, hollows, shafts, and other hazards… do not go near the edge of the Glory Hole. Help warn others.”

The shaft of Prize Mine in the abandoned building. Stay away!

A warning from Terrie Cox, Geologist and Historian, 1989

“Every year, several people are killed in Colorado as a direct result of old mines. There is always the clear-cut danger of falling into open shafts, but there are less obvious dangers as well. It is possible to plunge through openings plugged with last winter’s snow and ice, and old ladders and wooden structures are usually rotten and decrepit; they may collapse without warning. In some mines, rotting wood gives off hazardous gases.

Grand Army, as seen from a Gilman Tram grade.

All old mines were worked by drilling and blasting with dynamite, so the walls and ceilings are cracked and prone to sudden collapse. The floors of many mines are partially water filled. That mineralized water hides many hazards. At higher elevations, ice often covers the floors of mines year-round. The ice can send explorers plunging down deep shafts or into inescapable traps. Even dry gravel floors can be hazardous when the gravel covers up old, wooden, temporary floors. Temporary floors weren’t safe a hundred years ago. They are extremely dangerous today.”

Open Shafts In the Area

I especially urge you to avoid exploring the following mines, as they have open mine shafts that will eat you alive and may never give up your body. National Mine; Prize Mine; Gunnell Mine; Frontenac Mine; Mammoth Mine, and the Glory Hole.