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Take a step back in time while visiting Idaho Springs, Colorado. This small town will show you exactly what the state looked like during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush.
George A. Jackson first struck gold here in 1859, and the town hasn’t been the same since. However, unlike some Colorado towns, Idaho Springs has remained the workingman’s town that it was during the rush. The result is affordable restaurants and Idaho Springs accommodations.
Idaho Springs attractions mostly revolve around the mining, but there are also good skiing, relaxing hot springs and a beautiful scenic drive nearby.
Here is a list of a few things to do in Idaho Springs, Colorado.
Don’t miss the 14-mile drive up to the top of Mount Evans while you’re in the Idaho Springs area. Reaching 14,200 feet, it is the highest paved road in North America and is even home to some mountain goats!
Phoenix Gold Mine
This gold mine is a mix of the old and the new. See how they used to do it, and now they extract the precious metal in modern times- the mine is still in use! Here you can even pan for gold… and keep what you find!
Argo Gold Mine, Mill and Museum
See what the insides of a gold mill looked like from back in the 1800s. See the on-site Double Eagle Gold Mine and then see how they took gold-containing ore and processed it at this National Historic Site. When it was completed, the Argo Gold Mill was the largest gold mill in the world. Pan for gold and gemstones while you’re there! Staff will help you identify any findings, which might include garnet, amethyst, diamonds, aquamarine or agates.
Downtown Idaho Springs
The eastern end of town has the historic buildings, while the west end has businesses catering to tourists. Check out the little restaurants in town like Beau Jo’s, famous for its delicious pizza, or Tommyknockers, one of the famous Colorado microbreweries.
Skiing near Idaho Springs
Echo Mountain Park is Colorado’s newest ski hill, which is also the closest to Denver. Head south of Idaho Springs to reach this mini-ski area that encourages developing your freestyle skiing self.
Arapahoe Basin is a local Colorado favorite, for its short lines, long season and laid-back attitude. Also called A-Basin, this ski area is southwest of Idaho Springs on Interstate 70. Check out its peak at over 13,000 feet and its newest epic extension- Montezuma Bowl.
Loveland Ski Area is another local favorite, and is very close to A-Basin, just across Loveland Pass (down I-70 from Idaho Springs). It occupies land on Colorado’s Front Range about 50 miles from Denver, and receives over 400 inches of snow per year. If that isn’t enough to get you there, consider its altitude at 13,100 feet or its 93 trails that await you…
Indian Hot Springs
These hot springs have been rated within the top ten in the world and have been hosting visitors for over 100 years! Pamper yourself in their geothermal cave baths, outdoor Jacuzzis, private indoor baths, mineral water swimming pool, or in their spa with a mud bath or a relaxing massage.