Who doesn’t love the thrill of a ghost story? Colorado is crawling with ghost towns, much like the rest of the southwest region of the United States. In and around Ouray, you’ll find old mining roads along the hills and old towns abandoned with them. Most of them are accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles, but some allow for 2-wheel drive. Ghost town tours near Ouray Colorado lodging are certainly an adventure!
Ironton, located about seven miles from our Ouray Colorado lodging location, is one of the easiest ghost towns to reach. Located on the San Juan Skyway, it has several of its original buildings still intact. Ironton was once an important transportation hub of the Red Mountain District, often welcoming in travelers, with a population of 1000 residents in the nineteenth century. When mining slowed down, Ironton’s saloons, hotels, and mines became deserted.
Capitol City sits high up in the remote mountains just beyond Lake City and 21 miles from Ouray. You can access it by Engineer Pass Road in the late summer and fall. Only two original buildings remain – the old post office and Lee’ Smelter Stack. Capitol City was once an ambitious town – seeking to become Colorado’s capitol. Founded in 1877, originally referred to as Galena City, only 800 citizens. However, there was no shortage of bars, hotels, and other important buildings. Capital City’s downfall came when the cost of silver began to drop, along with some mysterious lawsuits and impossible transportation to the town.
Animas Forks, located 31 miles from Ouray, sits in the San Juan Mountains, elevated at 11,200 feet. The first settlers came around 1873, naming the town after the nearby Animas River. Once a boisterous mining community with 30 cabins, a hotel and saloon, post office, general store, and even local newspaper soon became a ghost town, its high altitude made the weather and temperatures unbearable for residents. Locals had to dig tunnels to get between buildings and avoid the heavy snow!
Ouray is full of ghost town adventures, where will you go next?