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Colorado Ghost Towns

By: Stephen Martin

High in the backcountry and often very isolated, ghost towns remind visitors of Colorado of the state's mining era. Built where the money was, these places weren't designed to be convenient to get to.

Ghost Town of Ashcroft Colorado During a Snow Storm OutThere Colorado
Ashcroft Ghost Town
Ashcroft ghost town can be found 11 miles south of Aspen on Castle Creek Road.
Abandon Crystal Mill in Colorado mountain OutThere Colorado
Crystal Ghost Town
Reachable only by a 4×4 trail, Crystal ghost town is famous for the decaying, yet beautiful Crystal Mill.
Alta Ghost Town Adam Franco OutThere Colorado
Alta Ghost Town
A popular hike, Alta can be found in San Miguel county near Telluride. Photo Credit: Adam Franco
Close up buildings in Animas Forks Ghost Town in Colorado OutThere Colorado
Animas Forks Ghost Town
Located at 11,200 feet above sea level, Animas Forks ghost town can be found along a 65-mile unpaved road system called the Alpine Loop.
Ashcroft Ghost Town Wagon OutThere Colorado
Ashcroft Ghost Town
Once a very prosperous silver mine with 2,000 residents, only 100 residents were left in the Ashcroft area by 1885.
St. Elmo - OutThere Colorado
St. Elmo Ghost Town
Founded in 1880, St. Elmo ghost town was quickly filled with roughly 2,000 residents hoping to strike it big by mining for gold and silver.
Alta Ghost Town Larry Myhre OutThere Colorado
Alta Ghost Town
While Alta used to be a booming town, weather and vandals have destroyed it since it’s abandonment in the mid-1900s. Photo Credit: Larry Myhre
Main street in Ghost Town of St Elmo OutThere Colorado
St. Elmo Ghost Town
This image shows what remains of St. Elmo ghost town’s main street.
Lulu City Ghost Town River Don Graham OutThere Colorado
Lulu City
Lulu City boomed after silver was discovered there in 1879. This didn’t last long though, as the town was abandoned with the exception of one resident by 1885. Photo Credit: Don Graham
Independence Gold Mine - SWKrullImaging - OutThere Colorado
Independence Gold Mine Ghost Town
Between 1893 and 1899, roughly 200,000 ouces of gold came from Independence Mine. Photo Credit: SWKrullImaging
Ashcroft Ghost Town Fall OutThere Colorado
Ashcroft Ghost Town
In Ashcroft’s heyday, the town had two newspapers, a school, and 20 saloons, making it bigger than Aspen at the time.
Tomboy Ghost Town Glenn Merritt OutThere Colorado
Tomboy Ghost Town
Tomboy is one of the highest ghost towns in the country at an elevation of 11,509 feet. Photo Credit: Glenn Merritt
Animas Forks Mining Cabin OutThere Colorado
Animas Forks Ghost Town
The first cabin in Animas Forks was built in 1873, lasting until 1917.
Animas Forks Ghost Town OutThere Colorado
Animas Forks Ghost Town
In 1884, a 23 day blizzard dropped 25 feet of snow on Animas Forks forcing residents to dig tunnels between buildings to get around.
Animas Forks Ghost Town First Town in Colorado OutThere Colorado
Animas Forks Ghost Town
As of today, nine buildings in Animas Forks have been stabilized and restored.
Alta ghost town in Colorado OutThere Colorado
Alta Ghost Town
While Alta mines were originally powered by coal, they were the first place to switch to Tesla’s AC transmission system.
Tomboy Ghost Town Fall Colors Scott Ellis OutThere Colorado
Tomboy Ghost Town
If you’d like to learn more about Tomboy, the book the Tomboy Bride is a great look into mining town life. Photo Credit: Scott Ellis – www.vsellis.com
Tomboy Pass Ghost Town Rob Lee OutThere Colorado
Tomboy Ghost Town
While most residents of Tomboy were men, there was a “social tunnel” that could be used for miners to meet women in Telluride. Photo Credit: Rob Lee
Crystal Mill Colorado River OutThere Colorado
Crystal Mill Ghost Town
If you’re wanting to visit Crystal Ghost Town, the easiest way is via the nearby town of Marble.
Crystal Mill Ghost Town
It’s easy to see why Crystal ghost town attracts photographers from around the world, many of which come to photograph Crystal Mill.

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