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Exploring Colorado’s legendary ghost towns

Vacant building at the ghost town of Ashcroft, Colorado
Vacant building at the ghost town of Ashcroft, Colorado
rjones0856 - Wikimedia Commons

Colorado’s ghost towns provide visitors with a great understanding into the towns past that were once home to some of the greatest legends of the Wild West.

Main street in the ghost town of St. Elmo in Chaffee County, Colorado
Rolf Blauert - Wikimedia Commons

These booming mining towns of the past, frequently inhabited by cowboys, outlaws as well as saloons, take visitors back in time observing these remaining abandoned buildings. Exploring these eerie buildings gives visitors a unique glimpse to what life was like over one hundred years ago.

There are some fifteen ghost towns in Colorado that are easily accessible. Here are a few of the most popular.


Situated ten miles outside of Aspen is the former mining town of Ashcroft. After silver dried out in the mining town, people gradually began moving away. According to legend, people say that the town became inhabited by ghosts that had settled in soon thereafter. The town is maintained by the Aspen Historical Society and is a popular tourist spot. Each year the town is visited by tourists eager to explore the vacant structures, stables and saloons. A guided tour of the jail is also available to visitors.

St. Elmo and Tin Cup

Located just west of Buena Vista is the town of St. Elmo, one of Colorado's best preserved ghost towns. Akin/Similar to the old western movies, a tour through the town's dust-covered Main Street guides visitors past abandoned wooden storefronts and old saloons from years past. After visitors are done exploring St. Elmo, they can move on to the once notorious western town of Tin Cup. Explore the town's fascinating history where some of the most intensive gunfights took place.

Cripple Creek

A number of other haunted places include the Hotel St. Nicholas, the Colorado Grande Casino and the Mt. Pisgah Cemetery which provide tours during the Halloween season. The Stanley Hotel is another well-known location because of it being featured in one of the great ghost stories ever written by the famous author Stephen King. Stephen King wrote the renowned novel “The Shining” soon after his stay at the 102-year-old hotel in Estes Park. The hotel provides visitors with their ever-popular ghost tour, guiding visitors through some of the most haunted places within the hotel including an underground tunnel not recommended for the faint of heart.

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