From empty buildings to beautiful historic landmarks, there are adventures to behold.
Depending on where you live in the state, you might find a ghost town right around the corner. Head to Google Maps and type in “Colorado Ghost Towns” and it will give you a full list from around the Centennial state with reviews posted by travelers.
Here is a look at 15 different so-called ghost towns in our state:
Alta is an old mining town located south of Telluride on Alta Lakes Road, which is closed during the winter.
According to Telluride Mountain Village, Alta is located at 11,800 feet and has several original buildings still standing.
“Alta is a really great ghost town with a neat history including a test site for Nikola Tesla. The drive up to the ghost town requires almost 4 miles of national forest road, which is pretty rough, but the trip is totally worth it! There are also hiking trails and primitive camping available. The ghost town buildings have private property signs on them, so it’s difficult to tell what is public land vs private property, but it’s clear someone does not want people in the buildings!” Seth shared.
“Amazing ghost town at the top. Road might be a bit rough on the way up, but slow and steady can lead to a rewarding place. Cool old buildings, saw one of the biggest marmot ever, thing looked like a small dog lol. Oh yea plenty of open camping on the way up,” Danny shared.
Another ghost town is Independence, which is located on Independence Pass, east of Aspen.
You will only be able to get to this town from June to September because the pass is closed during the winter.
The town actually had 90 buildings at its height, and 85 of those buildings were accounted for in 2009 by an archeological survey.
According to the Aspen Historical Society, Independence is the first mining site in the Roaring Fork Valley.
“Although mining at Independence proved to be short lived, over $190,000 worth of gold was produced between 1881 and 1882. The next year production dropped to $2,000. By 1888, only 100 citizens remained,” Aspen Historical Society said.
There are hundreds of Google reviews on Independence, the majority of which are over four stars.
“This little ghost town has some great historical signs along the trail as you walk through the town. A few of the buildings are in the process of being restored while others are completely collapsed. Still, with the fierce winters, there are still a lot of towns there. Worth the stop if you’re interested in Colorado history or old West history in general,” James shared on Google.
“Definitely the kind of ghost town I’ve always heard about… Historically significant, completely abandoned, yet lots to see. Plenty of signs describing the background of the town, the various building frames, and different sections of town. Worth checking out!” Brian shared.
Independence is also a nationally registered historic site, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Independence is not the only ghost town located near Aspen. If you are in the area, you can also check out Ashcroft.
Ashcroft is located on Castle Creek Road south of Aspen.
The Aspen Historical Society said Ashcroft was a silver mining town with several historical buildings.
“As quickly as it boomed, Ashcroft went bust. The mines, which initially produced an amazing 14,000 ounces of silver to the ton, were just shallow deposits,” Aspen Historical Society said.
Ashcroft is also a nationally registered historic site.
“Cool little ghost town with lots of history. A short and easy walk to get around. Definitely worth checking out,” Denny shared on Google.
“Looking for a place to see old Colorado history, the mining town of Ashcroft Colorado is a neat place to explore. Just 12 miles from Aspen and the ride takes you through to the back country,” Bob shared.
St. Elmo is located southwest of Buena Vista off of Colorado Road 162. According to St. Elmo town history, the town was officially founded in 1880. It was considered to be a main area for mining supplies that arrived by train. However, the St. Elmo General Store said the train tracks in the town were abandoned in 1922.
“St Elmo is an interesting little ghost town. There are couple of stores, a guest house, and the chipmunk crossing. There is a river nearby,” Similodon of Indy shared on Google.
“Been coming here since the 1960’s. My favorite Colorado ghost town. Love the history and have bought every book I could find on this place. I remember driving up here right after an eight inch snowfall in our Jeep. We were the first on the road up and it wasn’t even plowed yet. The store/ restaurant was on the south side of the main street then. (1974) and had no electricity. They cooked us breakfast on a wood stove. Sadly this building was later destroyed in the fire that burned that side of the street including the original city hall building,” Steve shared.
The Town of Arrow is located north of Winter Park on Corona Pass Road.
According to the history of Winter Park, Arrow was incorporated in 1904 and it started because of the railroad. At one point, Arrow had a restaurant.
The town was said to have become a ghost town after 1905 when the Moffat Tunnel was built.
Dearfield is located off of US-34, west of Wiggins. It was founded by Oliver Toussaint Jackson in 1910.
“The townsite is the only remaining Colorado example of the national African-American colonization movement inspired by Booker T. Washington. It was one of fourteen colonies, or rural towns, established in the West to provide Americans of African descent with the opportunity to own and work their own land. By 1917, sixty African-American families worked its 15,000 acres,” History Colorado shared.
According to ColoradoEncyclopedia.org, Dearfield had a population of 700 people in 1921 and was a farming community. However, the Great Depression and drought forced many people out of the town. By 1940, the Census showed only 12 people living in Dearfield.
Dearfield was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
While you are visiting, you will see abandoned buildings and vast mountain views.
“Fun place to stop for a visit. Accessible by jeep or side-by-side. Wildlife and million-dollar views!” Tonya shared.
“Fantastic views and the road isn’t too difficult to handle with the right vehicle. The ghost town has recently gotten new roofs and snow packs can still be found in the summer time. Don’t forget to bring a jacket; however. The weather changes fast,” Todd shared.
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