The Second Life of Gothic Ghost Town

Gothic, Colorado. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall.

During the silver boom of the late 19th century, Gothic was home to hundreds of eager miners looking to make their fortune. After the decline of the silver market, this mountain town was left to a handful of residents and was eventually abandoned. Decades later, Gothic ghost town is experiencing its second revival, this time, by a group of 160 scientists, students, and teachers.

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During the late 1870’s to 1896 the quiet town of Gothic, Colorado welcomed an influx of silver miners when a nearby explosion caused tiny strands of “wire-silver” to scatter throughout the fields. After the silver supply depleted, the town quickly vanished.

Gothic Ghost Town - Crested Butte Colorado - Jeffrey Beall - OutThere Colorado

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When the silver miners packed up their bags, one man stayed. Garwood Judd remained in Gothic for 15 years. His legacy prompted the 1928 movie appropriately named, “The Man Who Stayed,” to be made in his honor.

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While the bustling days of silver mining are long gone, the natural beauty surrounding Gothic remains. You can find Gothic Ghost Town nestled in Crested Butte, also known as “the last great Colorado ski town”. If you’re visiting Gothic, be sure to bring a mountain bike: the famed 401 Trail, a 14-mile bike trail with wildflowers as far as the eye can see, surrounds this beautiful ghost town. Some even say the 401 is the best mountain bike trail in all of Colorado.

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Now, the Gothic Ghost Town is home to one of the largest migrations of field biologists, known as the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. Students spend the summer researching local ecosystems and evolutionary processes.

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To visit the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory and take in the rich Gothic history that surrounds it, visitors can take Gothic Road or Prospect Drive from Crested Butte north, until they reach Co Rd 317. A brief four-mile drive northwest will take you directly to the facility, located on your right.

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