Sierra Silver Mine
509 Cedar Street
Wallace, Idaho 83873
June – August
Daily: 10AM – 4PM
May, September, October
Daily: 10AM – 2 PM
Children 4-16: $8.50
Children under 4: free
The Sierra Silver Mine just north of Wallace, Idaho, while a poor silver producer finds new life as an educational hotspot where tourists learn the history of Idaho’s richest mining district, view demonstrations of hard-rock mining, and see samples of regional ore.
History of the Sierra Silver Mine
Around 1900, a promising silver deposit is discovered just north of present day Wallace, Idaho, sparking the creation of the Sierra Silver Mine. Hardrock mining in the area is already in full swing yet the Sierra Silver Mine never yields enough to warrant continuous operation. Active mining is sporadic and ownership of the mine shifts frequently over time. In the 1960s, an incline shaft is sunk as part of a more thorough exploration. Yet, like each effort that came before it, the mine just was not profitable enough to keep running. According to one assay, the mine yielded 1/2 ounce of silver per ton of ore.
In a glimpse of the mine’s future, the Sierra Silver Mine does prove to be of use when it is repurposed to teach high schoolers mining skills. In 1982, the non-profit Sierra Silver Mine Tour, Inc is formed by local businesspeople. The mine is opened to the public for educational tours on mining this rich silver district.
Tour the Sierra Silver Mine
While the mine itself may have yielded little silver, the tour offers a wealth of information. Conducted by a retired miner, tours depart every half hour from the mine’s downtown Wallace ticket office to the mine via a refurbished trolly. The tour runs 1 1/4 hours, as visitors walk through the mines main tunnel, watch demonstrations of mining equipment, learn about the history of the Coeur d’Alene Mining District, and see samples of the local ore. It is an engaging and well run modern mining operation.