BY MATT TEAFORD
You may not find a lot of gold in these towns anymore, but you’ll find plenty of abandoned spots.
7. Abandoned Midland Railway
The Colorado Midland Railway was the first Standard Gauge Railroad that over-passed the Continental Divide, but its life was short-lived. Lasting fewer the forty years, the CMR suffered the same fate as many of the mining towns in the area. In operation from 1883 to 1918, the line was built over some of the more ridiculous lands that a train ever had to operate on in the state.
That dangerous terrain would ultimately lead to its demise, because the Hagerman Pass would freeze over during parts of the year, costing the line thousands of dollars every year. These days, not much remains of the railway aside from the various tunnels that it used to travel through. Most of the rails were auctioned off and removed, leaving very little to prove that a train ever passed through these tunnels at all.
6. Como Roundhouse
In case you’re not sure what a roundhouse is, we’ll give you a little history. A roundhouse is a building where trains are serviced or repaired prior to being put back on the line. With that being said, you definitely won’t see many roundhouses being put to use these days; especially one of this design.
The good news is that this site is actually being preserved, and it should be here for some time to come. The bad news is that it means you shouldn’t be able to explore any time soon. That’s okay, though. This is one of those spots that you really need to sit back and simply enjoy the architecture and the amount of work that went into creating it.
5. Mary Murphy Mine
It’s hard to imagine that a mine that once poured out over $4.4 Million worth of gold is now wasting away in the countryside, but it definitely is. It’s a moderate hike from Grizzly Lake, but it’s a hot spot for anyone looking to adventure among a ghost town. While it’s not easy to get there, there are quite a few who even bother to drive their ATV’s around the area surrounding the mine.
Just looking at the picture above should tell you that it’s not the wisest thing to try to mess around inside of the building, which almost appears to be held together by termites holding hands. This spot is prime for admiring the power of nature, and learning just how quickly our buildings will become dilapidated over time.
Nevadaville is the true definition of a ghost town. Just like many of the other mining towns in Colorado, it went bust big time back in 1900, at which point the population significantly declined. Everything from the main drag of the town, the post office, and the mines are easy to access, and each part of the town offers a glimpse into the past for various reasons.
The area right outside the mine itself is the most interesting spot to explore, where you can still find occasional mining relics from the past. The strangest thing to think about when exploring here is the fact that the town itself was rebuilt after a huge fire in the 1860’s, only to be deserted less than 50 years later. The only building that sees any use these days is the Masonic Lodge, which is the only lodge to hold regular meetings in a ghost town.
3. The Abandoned Coach Car (Victor)
Just as the various ores and minerals had to be taken to and from the mines, so did people. This is why it should come as no surprise that there were a few of these coach cars left behind. While this one seems to have some rather odd placement, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that it was simply decommissioned with age as the railroad industry died down across America.
This is another spot on this list that’s easily accessible and fun to explore. Not only is it relatively close to downtown Victor, it’s also easy to walk through. While it won’t give you hours of fun, it’s always amusing to step into a piece of history an imagine the people who use to travel within. It also provides for an excellent photo op when it’s not too far overgrown, and is surprisingly well-preserved for being consistently exposed to the elements.
2. Leadville Mines
Life above 10,000 ft. can be pretty difficult, but there’s definitely some beauty to be admired, too. For starters, the view from some of these abandoned mines is absolutely stunning, but, beyond that, it’s even more enchanting to imagine how difficult life must have been for the miners who made the trek up there prior to modern transportation.
After the silver industry boom declined in the late 1800’s, much of Leadville’s mines were left to slowly waste away in time. Some of the remains have fallen victim to mysterious fires, while others are simply rusting and corroding away. The good news is that there are plenty of them to explore, and they will provide for hours of interesting exploration.
1. The Crystal Mill
Where once men worked tiredly to extract minerals from the nearby streams, nothing remains aside from the skeletal remains of the building in which they used to work. A fast-moving stream flows by, giving the deserted building even more of a rustic look; especially when the colors begin to change in fall.
This abandoned spot is easily accessed through hiking trails, and the journey won’t take you too long. Just a short hike from NF-314, the walk will be both serene and beautiful, and the mill itself is gorgeous, regardless of the season. Although it’s ill-advised to attempt getting over to the building itself, the view is enough to keep you satisfied, and it’s not hard to see why this building has been preserved.