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.

Cowee Gift Shop & Mason Mountain Mine

5315 Bryson City Rd, Franklin, NC 28734-0422
+1 828-524-4570
Review Highlights

This place is great! The openers are great and it is a real mine with real gems coming out of it... read more

Reviewed 5 September 2017
via mobile
If you want the best, go here!

We went to several local mines on this trip. We stopped at the Cowee Gift Shop and spoke with... read more

Reviewed 16 August 2017
Dean R
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Read all 100 reviews
Map updates are paused. Zoom in to see updated info.
Reset zoom
Updating Map...
Tom and Ginger Johnson own and operate the mine and shop. The mine has grown over the years to provide you with the best environment for all your rockhounding needs. We offer full access for the handicap to enjoy all the fun as well. Check in at the gift shop for instructions to our access road, so you can drive right down to the flume. At our gem mine we offer strictly native dirt at the dig pile, plus enriched buckets and all the best help so you can start finding gems right away! In our gift shop we carry a wide variety of snacks and drinks to keep you going. There is also a nice deli nearby if you need a little extra and for the really hungry, Franklin is only 12 minutes away. We also have a wide range of rough specimens from all over the world as well as from our "back yard" which is literally our mountain where the mine site is located. You will see many different types of gold and silver mountings and jewelry already manufactured from our jewelry bench that will astound most folks. So stop on in if you can, we will be happy to see you even if it's just to say hi and catch up on things!
  • Excellent78%
  • Very good15%
  • Average5%
  • Poor1%
  • Terrible1%
Travellers talk about
“native dirt” (15 reviews)
“salted buckets” (10 reviews)
“gem mining” (12 reviews)
Open Now
All hours
Hours Today: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
5315 Bryson City Rd, Franklin, NC 28734-0422
+1 828-524-4570
Write a Review
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
JPMiles / Payback Arrow
Reviews (100)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

1 - 10 of 100 reviews

Reviewed 5 September 2017 via mobile

This place is great! The openers are great and it is a real mine with real gems coming out of it! Don't go anywhere else - dig in the native dirt pile - brought down from the mine daily - and watch the amazingness that...More

Thank Marglenna
Reviewed 16 August 2017

We went to several local mines on this trip. We stopped at the Cowee Gift Shop and spoke with Ginger, one of the owners. She was very helpful and friendly. We told her of our other disappointing experiences and she politely and professionally suggested that...More

Thank Dean R
Reviewed 12 August 2017

The rhodolite is worth going for but the rubies and sapphires are not native. They are added to the pile. The rhodolite is rough and the ruby and sapphire are water worn. If all was native, they all would be water worn or rough and...More

1  Thank rockdoctor48
Reviewed 7 August 2017 via mobile

We made our way to the mine and had a great time. We have two daughters 10 & 14 and they had a great time. We took dirt from the native pile and found a lot of garnets, some rubies and sapphires. A woman next...More

Thank Doogiest
Reviewed 24 July 2017

This was the best place we stopped at all vacation. Attempted to go to another mine (Sheffield Mine) and was sent away in a rude manner. Stopped at Cowee mine with about an hour left in their day and TIM was amazing, helped my boys...More

Thank cromerounm r
Reviewed 14 July 2017

Miners can purchase buckets of salted soil or dig from a pile of native soil brought directlr from the mine. If you choose the native mining experience, all equipment needed is provided and either 1/2 day or full day digs can be purchased. We purchased...More

Thank minerakl56
Reviewed 29 June 2017

We not only had fun but felt like we learned so much about various gems, and Tim, who was there to answer our questions and identify the rocks, was so helpful. When we finished, the folks inside separated out gems and showed us the most...More

Thank mwall1945
Reviewed 8 June 2017

We had a really enjoyable day at the mine. Tom and Ginger were super nice and Tim was extremely helpful in helping us identify our finds. I'm a newbie at this, and by the second bucket or so, I was getting the hang of identifying...More

Thank Daniel K
Reviewed 29 May 2017 via mobile

We visited Mason Mountain Mine on Friday. Tim was very helpful with identifying rubies, sapphires and garnets from our buckets of native dirt we dug from the native dirt pile near the sluice area. They brought in some fresh dirt for the digging pile early...More

1  Thank Rebecca H
Reviewed 28 May 2017

Ginger and Tom are the BEST! Their "crew" will help you find the best gems in their native dirt pile and you will NOT be disappointed. They are also lapidaries and will cut, polish and set your stone(s) in beautiful, unique settings. You will NOT...More

Thank Marglenna
Nearby Restaurants
Caffe Rel
905 reviews
7.45 km away
Root + Barrel Kitchen
374 reviews
7.47 km away
Mi Casa mexican restaurant
335 reviews
7.04 km away
Ms Lois' Restaurant
158 reviews
7.40 km away
Nearby Attractions
Rose Creek Mine
204 reviews
1.40 km away
Franklin Gem and Mineral Museum
134 reviews
7.54 km away
Cherokee Ruby & Sapphire Mine
186 reviews
4.95 km away
Sheffield Mine
135 reviews
2.75 km away
Ask a question
Questions & Answers
Jeanne P
12 August 2016|
Response from texdawg89 | Reviewed this property |
I would say yes but there is some slight incline and there are no provisions for getting up close to the "trough" where the water runs to sift through the dirt to find stones. However, the owners are Christians and very... More
Angela H
12 April 2015|
Response from Adrian H |
If I'm not mistaken, salted means there are stones added to the dirt to guarantee finding something. Unsalted means nothing was added, so you'll only find what nature put in that particular pile of dirt.