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Colorado Trails

Explore a Mining Ghost Town in the Heart of the Colorado Mountains

A wrecked alpine village from Colorado's mining history awaits you at the end of this dayhike.

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This may be a ghost town, but it sits right on a prime piece of real estate in this dramatic mountain basin. A ragged sawtooth ridge backdrops this collection of ruined log cabins and abandoned claims, peaking at almost 14,000 feet before dropping into steep chutes and rocky cliffs.

Boston Mine has been abandoned for much longer than it was ever occupied. Miners founded the town in the late 1800s following the discovery of a thick vein of gold ore in the adjacent mountains, building out homes, a boarding house, and trams to ferry their prize out to civilization. Unfortunately, it turned out the project was a bust: The ore wasn’t pure enough to make mining it economically viable, so the would-be prospectors went on their way. Visiting the remains of the town requires a moderate 5.6-mile round-trip hike—short enough to be easily accessible, but just long enough to keep out the tourists.

The Hike

Starting at the Mayflower Gulch Trailhead, follow an old Jeep road gently up through mixed conifer forest. Around Mile 2, look on your right to see the remains of the tram line that miners would have used. Shortly after that, the forests open up to reveal Mayflower Gulch, the town, and beyond that, 13,958-foot Fletcher Mountain and 13,950-foot Pacific Peak. Follow the trail past a gate to the remains of the cabins (watch out for protruding spikes from the collapsed walls) and pose for a picture through the window. Head back the way you came, or add on some extra value with an ascent of Atlantic Peak or Fletcher via the rubbly, class 2 ridge. (Climbing in winter? Bring crampons and watch your step.)

High Water

Located at 13,435 feet just below the summit of Pacific Peak, Pacific Tarn is the highest officially-named lake in the United States. The easiest way to get there is by a 8.5-mile round-trip hike from the McCullough Gulch Trailhead.

Flower Power

In summer, the alpine meadows around the Boston Mine are a great place to spot rare blueleaf cinquefoil flowers. Look for their characteristic five-petaled yellow blooms and toothed, palmate (i.e., hand-shaped) leaves with a fuzzy blue-green coating.

Getting There

From Denver, take I-70 west to Copper Mountain, exit 195. Go south on CO 91 for 5.8 miles. The Mayflower Gulch trailhead is on the left.