The second-largest copper producer in the United States, the century-old Kennecott’s Copper Mine (aka the Bingham Canyon Mine) provides about a quarter of America’s copper needs, as well as gold, silver, and molybdenum. The impressive open pit, which is is still growing, is said to be visible from space.
Despite the fact that visitors aren’t allowed inside the mine—and the fact that the visitors center remains closed until further notice—this working pit mine still ranks among Utah’s most popular attractions. Visitors can stand on an overlook near the pit’s edge, taking in the spectacular views and watching electric shovels fill haul trucks with ore. Sightseeing tours of the Utah Rocky Mountains often include a photo stop at the mine.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This open-pit copper mine is a must-see for families and anyone with an interest in geology or modern-day technology.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat—there’s no shade at the observation point.
- Be sure to bring along a camera for a photo opp of the working mine.
How to Get There
The Kennecott copper mine is located at the edge of the three-quarter-mile-deep (1-kilometer-deep) pit mine, about 28 miles (45 kilometers) southwest of Salt Lake City. The easiest way to get there is by driving or taking a guided day trip from Utah’s capital.
When to Get There
While the mine operates daily throughout the year, the best time to visit is from June to September in the morning or late afternoon. Expect summer temperatures in the 80s and 90s midday.
What Is Copper Used For?
The copper and other metals produced at this working pit mine help make our modern lifestyles possible. Products made with copper include computer keyboards, cell phones, hot-water heaters, CAT scan machines, and hybrid electric cars.