If you’re looking for a short hike and a chance to learn a little, too, then stop at the Miner’s Cabin Trail in the Snowy Range near the Sugarloaf Recreation Area. The hike features the above-ground remnants of a mine, a miner’s cabin and several interpretive signs.
The hike starts at the Medicine Bow Peak Overlook on Highway 130 (directions below). Walk past the trail signs and on the single-person wide, dirt trail a short distance to a trail split. Now it’s decision time, do you want to go left or right? The hike is the same distance either way. I went left (counter-clockwise) because it’s the fastest way to seeing a historic structure. From the split, it’s just a short distance to the old Red Mask Mine.
The Red Mask Mine, constructed in the 1920s, was thought to have rich veins of gold, silver and other minerals. However, only a small amount of silver was found and just traces of copper and gold, so the mine didn’t last long. Visitors will see the remnants of the boiler and some lumber at the mine entrance. A sign explains the history of the mine and includes a photo of what the mining structures looked like.
Follow the trail to a great view of the nearby peaks and several signs about the wildlife in the area. Halfway around the loop, hikers come to a small stream and a miner’s cabin. The cabin was used by miners working at the Red Mask Mine. A sign explains that the cabin was built here because it was in an area sheltered from the wind and near a water source (a stream).
While it is not safe to go inside the cabin because the roof is falling in, you can walk around the building and look in the side window to see the remnants of bunk beds along the back wall.
When you’re done exploring, it’s time for the climb out. There’s about 200 feet of elevation gain in the next 0.35 miles back to the trailhead.
If you want more hikes, check out this list of 200+ great hikes in Colorado.
Details: The loop is 0.7 miles with 200 feet of elevation gain.
Directions: Take I-25 to Cheyenne. Take I-80 west to Laramie. Take the exit 311 for Snowy Range Road/WY-130/WY-230. Turn west. Take WY-130/Snowy Range Road for about 40 miles to the Medicine Bow Peak Overlook turnoff. (You'll pass the town of Centennial that has lodging and food).