Strike Up Your Sense of Adventure!
Southwest Colorado’s San Juan Mountains are home to some of the world’s richest gold and silver finds. Back in the 1870s, gold was found here and dozens of small mining towns grew into flourishing communities.
Places like Ouray, Silverton, Telluride, Lake City (and a whole lot more that are lost to history) sprang up, sometimes overnight. Thousands of men came from all over the world looking for their fortune.
Today, you can drive down old mountain trails and see ghost towns along with their old mining buildings. Most of the old mines are sealed for the public’s protection. Some remote mines can be entered, but years of neglect have left them hazardous. Drive a short distance south of Ouray to view the Red Mountain Mining district - home to thousands of mines.
Don’t miss the Ouray County Historical Museum in town for another glimpse into Ouray’s rich mining history.
Just north of Ouray is the Bachelor-Syracuse Mine Tour. There you can tour 1500 feet into Gold Mountain and learn how the miners of the 1800's lived and worked, the let the kiddos pan for gold and (Friday-Sunday) enjoy a hearty miner’s breakfast in the outdoor cafe.
Near Silverton is the Old Hundred Mine Tour. Climb aboard the mine tram for an inside tour. See a great display of mining equipment in operation. A heritage pass can be purchased at the Silverton Museum which includes entry to the museum, the Mayflower Mill and the Old Hundred.
Photo Courtesy of Russell Lee, Library of Congress