a few weekends ago, my wife and i went to the 4x4/jeep/off-road expo in denver and we stopped at an exhibitor selling "adler publishing" trail books. so we picked up the CO front range and central region trail books:
they are awesome books that fully describe the trail with the difficulty, distance, history, description, the exact directions to get through the trail, etc... here is a sample page:
so, i planned a trip to take us near all many of the old mining towns that we could. here is a history of the area (great read): http://www.gilpintram.com/index.html
the mining towns/mines we visited:
- Russell Gultch
- Glory hole mine
- Central city
- Nevadaville/Bald mountain
- Hamlin gultch
- Boodle Mill
- various graveyards
i also picked up the TOPO software from adler publishing so i could precisely map out the route and directions. which was very helpful because there are hundreds of miles of trails out there and it is easy to get lost. here is the start of the trail (in yellow) that i mapped out in the software.
we picked today to go because it was a beautiful day in colorado... and because westminster was over 100 degrees today the mountains were only in the 80's
anyway.... here are the pics of the trip:
paved trail head in Idaho Springs.
going up the "oh my god trail" i guess they call it that because of the steep drops, but the trail is wide enough for 2 vehicles.. so i dunno
this shack was for sale.. ohh, the possibilities
old mining structure
evidence of mining
small mining "town"
Russell gultch. this place was interesting because in the mix of old and abandonded buildings, people were living in more modern homes. everything said private property so we couldnt go exploring around the buildings.
late 1800's school house
crumbling brick building
1940/50's era truck?
school house. it is very well preserved for being so old.
glory hole gold mine. a glory hole is where miners dig a HUGE hole (can be miles across) to unearth minerals. this was at the ridge of the hole, but we couldnt see into the hole well enough to take pics.
trail #20 ending and coming into central city
lots of abandonded mining buildings on the mountain sides
central city... quaint town
the court house and church behind
beginning of trail #19, heading into nevadaville
ruins in nevadaville
bald mountain. this town burned down 5 times in its history and was never fully rebuilt.
coming out of bald mountain
the camera doesnt do it justice, but colorado has some beautiful landscape
about half the trails were graded and maintained county roads, but once you got off the county roads, it got pretty rough.
bald mountain cemetary (and wifey in the pic)
it was weird to look at the dates on the tombstones. kinda makes you think how hard life was back then seeing that "old age" was in your 40's).
i bet this place is creepy at night
county road ended.... the pictures never really show how rough the roads are. most of the off-county road driving was under 10mph.
more with the scenery
its just fricken beautiful in colorado.
trail getting narrower.
for all the mountains that you drive through, you will suddenly come to a valley of grassland. it really is a sharp contrast from the roughedness of the mountains.
one of the many cemetaries that we passed.
these were near Boodle mill
start of trail #16 and chase gultch reservoir.
heading out towards Apex.
the vertical imagery of the trees was cool
rougher than it looks. i couldnt go more than 5mph without the trail vibrating the shit out of me.... ohh, that reminds me. my wife said that 4x4'ing gives her gas she farted during half the trip
more with the scenery
OMG... this area scared the shit outta me. from this picture, the trail narrowed to about 3 feet wider than the truck. thats not so bad and the trail conditions were easy, but i turned a corner and up comes a Ford super duty F-250 raised 6 inches with 35/12.5 tires on it. holy shit, how do we pass? i had to ride up onto the side of the mountain in a very awkward off-camber situation for him to pass. he cleared my truck by about 2 inches. if i didnt have 4 wheel drive, i couldnt have driven up the side of the mountain. so we pass each other, then i get another 300 feet down the road and another Ford F-250 comes rolling up.... WTF!?!? i had to back up the trail to that one spot that had a tiny clearing that i could drive up. seriously, these large, full sized trucks are not ideal for these trails.
boulder creek.... waaaaaay up the mountain near Tolland
gratuitous shot of my truck
wife pondering about being funny....
she pretends that she is going to fall in the water, then, just after i snapped this photo, she almost took a header into the water... it was hillarious
its mostly stock, but i am impressed with its capabilities
many of you may scoff at this, but here is my first bit of trail damage. i had to turn around on a narrow road (went the wrong way) and i had to drive my back end up the side of the mountain and i scratched the bumper and bent the wiring harness.
housing near moffat tunnel
moffat tunnel (for trains).
more housing near the tunnel
moffat tunnel placard
this was the town of tolland... seriously... thats it. if you blink, you miss it.
rollinsville.. another small town
the busy hub of rollinsville
we had alot of fun today and it was great to see some of colorado.
if anyone wants to try out some 4 and 5 rated trails on the front range or in the central region, let me know. i would gladly go.
thanks for looking