“trails of gold!”
Victor, Colorado has been known as the "City of Mines" since it was founded back in the early 19th century. Even though most of the many mines are now closed, you can still see relics from the town's boom town past all around the region. In fact, there are a set of hikes known as the "Trails of Gold", which take you past abandoned mines, the remains of mining camps, and other ghost town features that make for a perfect afternoon outdoor adventure... and don't forget a camera! It's almost impossible to take a bad picture of the many abandoned buildings along the route. If you've only got time for one hike, make it the Vindicator Valley Trail. At a mere 2 miles looping, it offers tons of sightseeing along a trail that's totally manageable for hiking novices. Along the hike, you'll pass through the former location of Independence, a mining camp in the Vindicator Valley. You can also see dozens of mines dotted along the hills, including the old Vindicator Mine, the Anna J. Mine and the old, 1895-era Theresa Mine, which closed in the 1960's. The region's history of gold mining is kind of legendary-- there was even an incident known as the Colorado Labor War that occurred here, with labor unions clashing with the mine operators; the National Guard was even called in. You can also see a mine that's still operating today at the top of the valley. Some buildings are open for you to explore, while others are off-limits... be careful, because the ground off the trail is unstable in some areas, due to the fact that the mines are connected by old-timey underground tunnels. The trail is super well maintained-- it's gravel, which is good for hiking and biking, and it's lined with interpretive signs which add a ton of context to the abandoned buildings you'll be looking at. The trail is open year round (but you might need cross country skis or snowshoes in the winter and spring!) and is pet-friendly and handicap-accessible as well, so the whole family can enjoy the hike. One of the "Trails of Gold" near the town of Victor, Vindicator Valley Trail is an interpretive trail that takes you past many 1890s gold mines. Signs along the trail provide information about mines and people that lived here. The trail is a wide gravel loop with a small climb. Numerous historical buildings and views of Sangre de Cristo mountains to the south make this a great hiking option in the Cripple Creek area. Distance: 2 mile loop
Love that it's handicap accessible and pet friendly. Super easy hike, can be done in under an hour. Well-maintained and has interpretive signs so you can learn about the old buildings you'll see along the way!
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Vindicator Valley Trail
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