Historic Mining Towns of Colorado

Historic Mining Towns of Colorado: A Journey Back in Time

Before we delve into the rich mining history of Colorado, it’s important to note a unique aspect of property ownership in the state. In Colorado, most properties do not come with mineral rights. This means that the rights to the minerals beneath a property often belong to someone else, a remnant from the state’s mining past.

Now, let’s take a journey back in time and explore some of Colorado’s best-preserved historic mining towns.

1. Leadville

Leadville, once the second largest city in Colorado, was founded during a silver rush. Its rich history is evident in its Victorian-era architecture and old mining structures. The National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum is a must-visit, offering a deep dive into the state’s mining history. The town also hosts the annual Leadville Trail 100 Run, a famous ultramarathon that attracts athletes from around the world. In the winter, you can enjoy skiing at Ski Cooper, a local ski resort known for its family-friendly atmosphere.

2. Cripple Creek

Cripple Creek was the site of the last and greatest mining boom in Colorado, producing more than $300 million in gold. Today, the town’s rich history is preserved in the Cripple Creek District Museum and numerous other historical attractions. Cripple Creek also offers a variety of entertainment options, including casinos, theaters, and the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. The town’s Donkey Derby Days, a festival featuring donkey races, is a popular annual event.

3. Central City

Central City, known as the “Richest Square Mile on Earth,” was at the center of the Colorado gold rush. The town’s historic district is home to many preserved 19th-century buildings, including the Central City Opera House, which still hosts performances today. Central City is also known for its casinos, offering a blend of history and modern entertainment. The Gilpin Historical Society offers tours of the historic district, providing insights into the town’s vibrant past.

4. Idaho Springs

Idaho Springs was the site of the first significant gold discovery in Colorado. Visitors can tour the Argo Gold Mine and Mill, which was once the longest mining tunnel in the world. The town is also home to Indian Hot Springs, a hot springs resort that has been in operation since 1859. For outdoor enthusiasts, nearby Mount Evans offers hiking trails and the highest paved road in North America.

5. Silverton

Once a thriving mining town, Silverton is now a National Historic Landmark. The town’s well-preserved downtown area features Victorian-era buildings and the San Juan County Historical Society mining heritage center. Silverton is the starting point for the scenic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic steam train that offers breathtaking views of the San Juan Mountains. In the winter, Silverton Mountain offers challenging terrain for advanced skiers and snowboarders.

Remember, each of these towns offers a unique glimpse into Colorado’s mining past and present. Whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just looking for a unique travel experience, these towns have something to offer.


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