Happy Monday, friends!
This weekend was quite an interesting one but a fun spontaneous one at that. For a while now, I’ve been reading up on and doing casual research on abandoned mining ghost towns (it’s actually super cool reading about the history) because I love a cheap thrill and know they’re all over Colorado near and far. And I’m not talking about ones that have been turned into a paid attraction or has been modified for the convenience of tourists. No, I want the ones that are on private property go at your own risk and take extra precautions because they can be/are still dangerous and prose a real hazardous threat. So in my search, I found a couple that were in somewhat close proximity to us (~2hrs away) whereas most are deep into the mountains anywhere from 3-7 hours away.
So that was the plan for Saturday off to find something cool and spooky.
We were headed out in the direction of Leadville, the silver mining town.
Leadville itself exudes this spooky, decrepit, eerie run down feeling and I loved every second of it. You could feel the history through its rigid buildings that, look wise had a crusty old fashioned charming vibe. Also fun fact, the town sits at an elevation of 10,151′ and has been deemed the highest situated town in Colorado. Despite the disparaging town, the surrounding area was quite scenic; snowcapped mountains in the vast distance of the historic downtown, the Arkansas river flows alongside the road, and they have a beautiful Clear Creek Reservoir.
However, Leadville was not our final destination, we were headed towards two neighboring towns that were known to be “abandoned”- Vicksburg and Winfield.
Unfortunately the venture came to a quick halt due to the rocky dirt path road you have to travel on to get there (we took the wrong car for this trip). At first it’s do-able but then for the last 5 miles, it gets increasingly worse, so to save Andrew’s undercarriage of his car we turned back. Luckily the scenery from the dirt path road was uncanny, so we stopped on the side to stretch our legs and enjoy the view for a bit.
Rest assured, we do have plans to go back in a couple weeks because I’m determined to check this off of the CO bucket list.
Fortunately, from where we were in Leadville, we were only about an hour to Aspen if we drove through Independence Pass. So we switched gears and headed in that direction.
Independence Pass & Devil’s Punchbowl
Independence Pass is a famous scenic bypass road to get to Aspen. It’s a stunning drive, a little heart dropping at times but truly a must see. Along the way there are plethora of stop and park areas for people to hike, bike, camp out, fish, and rock climb.
Towards the end of the pass you’ll come across the infamous Devil’s Punchbowl swimming hole in Aspen.
KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: The parking lot for this spot is small and can get packed/filled quickly. But there are neighboring pull offs and you can walk or hike your way through. Jump/swim at your own discretion, aside from the water being bone chilling, I know during certain times of the year the water level can make it deep and rapid.
A great swimming oasis for my adrenaline junkies! And if you’re there to live vicariously through others, like myself, it’s a great spot to hang out and lay out as many were when we went.
It was a quick stop for us and we continued onward to Aspen to satisfy our hungry stomaches. From Devil’s Punchbowl you’re about 15-20 minutes until you reach downtown Aspen.
We didn’t get to explore the town as much as we would’ve liked but we did aimlessly wander through their main street which was exactly how I envisioned it would be. Classy, quaint, vibrant, and a little storybook-like culture.
Sure enough, Aspen is part of an upcoming overnight trip that we have planned for next weekend so there’s more to come!
And that is how a spooky driven trip turned into an unintentional drive to Aspen. Colorado, you really are an adventure and I’m here for it.