Sanford Lab Homestake Trolley Tour

Climb aboard a classic street trolley and hear about the story of Lead, from the history with Homestake Mining Company to the future of SURF with Sandford Lab Homestake Trolley Tours. Tours are held on select days between May and September. Your tour includes a journey through the historic town of Lead, and a surface tour of the Sanford Underground Research Facility, known as SURF.


Inside the Yates hoist room at SURF, you will see hoists that have been in operation since 1939. You’ll also learn about the more-than 5,000 feet of rope that convey supplies to the underground levels of America’s only deep underground lab. If you’re lucky, you may even see the hoists in action!


You’ll also learn about the original mining process and the state-of-the-art SURF Waste Water Treatment Plant designed by Homestake Mining Company, which is still used today to treat the water pumped from underground.


Tours last approximately one hour. Each tour accommodates 25 people. Large groups of 10 or more or bus tours should book tours at least one day in advance. The trolley is wheelchair accessible by ramp.


After your tour, visit the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center’s spacious exhibit hall, where you’ll find exciting information about the development of Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF), and the history of Lead and the Homestake Mine. Exhibits include historic photographs, videos, science and mining artifacts, and a 3-D model of the underground passages, or drifts, from the surface down 8,000 feet!


From the observation deck, view the 1,000-foot-deep Open Cut, the iconic 1,200-feet-deep iconic landmark in the Black Hills, and see the varieties of rock that created this unique landscape. Admission to the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center and self-guided tours are free.


Don’t have time for the trolley? Daily docent tours will provide an in-depth exploration of the Visitor Center’s exhibits. Special pricing for the Sanford Lab Homestake Trolley Tour and the Exhibit Tour is also available. Reservations are based on space and tour availability and are available from April through September.


Tours include some walking short distances on gravel surfaces. The hoistroom portion of the tour does include climbing steps into a building dating back to the early 20th century and may be unable to accommodate wheelchairs. Closed-toe shoes are required. Some tour locations may be unavailable due to operational needs.

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