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Hike and Drive in Winfield's Historic Ghost Town

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Last time, this writer discussed Leadville’s ghost town Vicksburg and associated hike trails. This time we will explore …..Winfield in Chaffee County. Unlike some ghost towns which lasted longer, Winfield thrived for only three decades. After those years, it was abandoned by the miners who ran out of gold to mine.

Today, you can still see the original school house and a few other buildings. As you walk towards it, you feel the grass and dirt beneath your feet and you stand before an 1800-era school building with a false front. To your left, you will see the Ball Cabin that was converted into a museum of the ghost town. Inside, there are various items used by the miners during the Frontier. On the other side of the street, you will see the Harry Payne log cabin. One of these cabins or another was built in 1861. Nearby are the hike trails.

In Winfield, gold “prospecting” started in 1867. It was a year when people were recovering from the Civil War and the soon-to-be-famous Montana Vigilante group had already formed and was in the process of defeating the notorious Plummer crime gang. In that context, the settlers came mining for gold and established Winfield.

The ghost town acquired 1500 inhabitants about 1890--according to http://www.uncovercolorado.com/Ghost-Towns/Winfield.html. The same site stated, “There were 3 saloons, 3 stores, 2 hotels, a boarding house, a post office, a church, school, mill, smelter and concentrator.”

In addition to seeing the ghost town, you can also drive a 4x4 or hike. For example, the coloradoghosttowns.com website mentions that SW of Winfield is the Banker mine. The road for it runs through or near Winfield and is made for 4x4 driving. NE of Winfield is the Swiss Boy Mine. It’s road is good for hiking.

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