Historically minded outdoor enthusiasts rejoice! The Arkansas Valley is loaded with abandoned mining towns that make for a great day trip and a wonderful opportunity to see Colorado’s Wildlife and the autumn colors.
St. Elmo: The town of St. Elmo is one of the most accessible and best preserved mining towns in the state of Colorado. A beautiful, 16 mile drive down CR 162 past Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort brings you to the once bustling town of St. Elmo. Today the town is a national historical site and home to only 8 people year round. Visitors can still walk the main street and see over 21 well preserved buildings and homes. Stop in the General Store and do some treasure hunting while you are there. You may also have the opportunity to see some true Colorado wildlife, including big horn sheep, elk, and mule deer. This is a great trip for the whole family and does not require a 4WD vehicle.
Hancock/Romely town sites: Once you’ve finished taking in the sights in St. Elmo, continue south on CR 295 for 5 miles. Here you will stumble upon the abandoned mining town sites of Romely and Hancock. While more of a town site than a restored town, this ghost own still hosts some impressive historic sights. The precariously perched Alley Belle Mine hovers right above the rutted, but maintained dirt road that will take you in to the town site. Along the drive keep a look out for an abandoned rail road bridge and scattered buildings and mines. From town site you can also take a hike up the Alpine Tunnel trail along the old railroad tracks. During this hike you will be able to stop at the restored Alpine Tunnel Station and take in the impressive high alpine views.
Vicksburg: Just south of the small town of Granite, take CR 390 about 8 miles to the town of Vicksburg. As with many ghost towns in the valley, this town was built off of mining capitol from the neighboring Swiss Boy mine. Today, about a dozen structures still stand, including residential and business buildings and a small cemetery. This ghost town also has a small museum that is open to visitors on weekends. As always, use caution when exploring these historic sites and be mindful of any signage.