We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.


Sugar Creek Gem Mine
Ranked #9 of 18 things to do in Banner Elk
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 25 June 2014

We went to the Sugar Creek Gem Mine this week. Great place. Ben was very knowledgeable about all of the gems that we found. Very nicely ran operation! You pick a 1 gal, 2 gal, 5 gal, etc. bucket filled with sand and gems. Then you take the bucket outside to the mining area where there is water running through these troughs and they have sifter boxes. Our family enjoyed finding the beautiful gems. You can find aquamarine, amethyst, quartz, emeralds, etc. It was fun. After you find your gems, take them back inside and Ben will explain to you all about the gems you have. They also have jewelry made out of the gems and bags of gems you can buy already polished. It is not cheap to buy the buckets of sand/gems. 1 gal is $21, 2 gal is $32, etc. It was a lot of fun and interesting.

5  Thank TravelerFamily5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (62)
There are newer reviews for Sugar Creek Gem Mine
See the most recent reviews
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

57 - 61 of 62 reviews

Reviewed 26 May 2014

We were visiting Banner Elk and came to this place based on the reviews. I have three small boys and we got the small bucket for $32. My kids loved it! They'll collect any old rock they see on the side of the road so finding quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, etc. thrilled them no end! Each kid was able to go home with some treasures and they carried them around for the rest of the trip. We did find one ruby, but haven't gotten it cut or polished yet. The guy working there was great and helpful. My kids are already talking about coming back the next time we come visit.

4  Thank Sherryaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 September 2013

We visited Sugar Creek Gem Mine and had a great time. The panning area and the store are nice and clean. I enjoyed panning, mining and found beautiful treasures. They also had nice, beautiful selections of selenite, that I was looking for to put in my collection.
The stuff was very nice, friendly. Unfortunately in some other places, visitor centers, I found the stuff unfriendly, careless.
Thank you Sugar Creek Gem Mine. We had a wonderful time. Noemi and Zoltan

4  Thank Gemstones2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2013 via mobile

We promised our grandaughter we would take mining on our trip. We saw this nice clean "gem mine" on the way out of Banner Elk after breakfast. It was starting to rain and the covered panning area was attractive. What we found inside was an attractive clean well staffed operation. We chose the "boss" which is a 5 gallon bucket. Their were 4 of us with our daughter and grandaughter. This provided all of us plenty of experience. Each of us filled our bags with our daughter finding two nice size rubies. Everyone had a great time and we will certainly make this a stop on future trips. If you don't have kids stand next to some one else's and say you are doing it for the kids.

1  Thank GrantWilmingtonn_c_
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2013

We went to another gem mine last year and had a fabulous time but we passed by this place and found out it was fairly new so we figured we would walk in to check it out. The prices a comparative with other local gem mines. We got a Junior bucket which was perfect for our two kids. We even had a $5 off coupon from Fred's store so that was good. The inside is decorated nicely and it is so clean and fresh. They sell a few knock knacks inside and the prices are not outrageous. The actual mining is done outside and you get such a nice cross breeze out there. You are near a road but a safe distance away and the view of Sugar Mountain is so pretty.

You are given a bucket filled with sand and gems covered in sand (dug up locally). The sand is a nice touch because other local places use dirt instead. The employees are so friendly and will explain everything and show you how to do it. The area that you mine is covered (so you could do it on a rainy day) and there are benches to sit on if you like. The kids stood because it was a good height for them to stand. You scoop your sand/gems into a mesh tray then put the tray in the water trough and it washes the sand away. Immediately you can see what gems you have. This is so exciting for the kids. Each time. :)

The kids each had a plastic bag given to them to put their gems as they found them. You put the scraps in a bucket as you go. Once you finish sorting through your bucket, you go inside where the lovely employees put your finds on trays and tell you what you found. They were so patient and answered all of our questions. We were the only customers being that it was a Wednesday in the mid-morning probably. So it might end up being more rushed if there are other customers but I think the employees would be just as nice and helpful even if it was crowded.

There are bathrooms to wash up afterwards and they were exceptionally clean. There seems to be great pride in the upkeep if this business. They are seasonal - in the winter they are a ski shop from what I understand.

If we do mining again in the area, we would definitely come back here. We didn't get any of our gems cut/polished because it would have been about $50 for each of the kids to do it. You get to keep all of your gems though and you can get it cut elsewhere or return to Sugar Gem Mine another day to do it.

3  Thank Lucy L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Sugar Creek Gem Mine also viewed

Boone, North Carolina Mountains
Linville, North Carolina Mountains
Banner Elk, North Carolina Mountains
Banner Elk, North Carolina Mountains

Been to Sugar Creek Gem Mine? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing