25 Abandoned Buildings In Colorado You Must See Before They Are Gone

Posted: November 25, 2015 in Ghost Towns

In no particular order here are 25 of the best abandoned buildings in the State of Colorado. Some are relatively well preserved, others are in an advanced state of decay or collapse. Enjoy!

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1. Grocery Store- Model, Colorado

Few people have heard of Model, Colorado, but in my opinion it is one of the best ghost towns in Colorado. Model is a 1930’s era town located along Highway 350 in Las Animas County between Trinidad and La Junta. The town has several empty storefronts, including this fantastic grocery store with vintage advertising, as well as  a couple of blocks of abandoned houses- But beware, Model is guarded by a vicious dog that will attack you and your vehicle if you cross into “his territory” so stay in the car with your windows up!

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2. Trading Post- Gardner, Colorado

Gardner is a small town about 25 miles west of Walsenburg along Highway 69. There are numerous abandoned homes and buildings, along with many that are still occupied in Gardner. It’s a quiet, pretty little town with the Sangre de Cristos towering over it to the west. As you enter town from the east you’ll find the old Gardner Trading Post pictured above which was built in 1867.

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3. Hotel- Apex, Colorado

This old building is claimed to have been a hotel during the boom time of Apex and the Pine Creek Mining District in the late 1890’s. It looks a bit small to me to have served as a hotel, but regardless of what it was or wasn’t, it is a great old building with it’s leaning false front, and swaying logs. It is registered as a Gilpin County historic site, and efforts have been made in recent years to stabilize the old building, however the heavy winter snows that hit Apex each year have taken their toll. Apex is roughly 7 miles nortwest of Black Hawk, it can be reached by taking Apex Valley Road off of Highway 119 a mile or so past Black Hawk, follow the road along Pine Creek up the narrow valley about 6 miles to the ghost town of Apex. The road can be rough in spots and a 4×4 is advised if visiting in the snowy months.

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4. Crossans Market- Yampa, Colorado

Yampa is a beautiful town situated along the west edge of the Flattops Wilderness in the Yampa River Valley. Yampa is a sportsman’s paradise offering excellent hunting and fishing opportunities in every direction. Yampa also has numerous interesting buildings dating to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, most are occupied, but the Crossans Market pictured above is currently vacant. An effort is underway to restore and preserve the old market for future generations. Yampa is located in between Wolcott and Steamboat Springs on Highway 131.

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5. The Bradford City House- Ken Caryl, Colorado

Bradford City was an early settlement along the foothills west of Denver. The town was planned to be a major supply center and stagecoach stop on the way to the gold fields of the Rockies. Construction of the Bradford City House began in 1861, and makes it one of the oldest permanent structures in Colorado. The house served as a store, stage stop, and hotel in it’s early years, was added on to a couple of times, and later became the main home of a private ranch. It has sat abandoned since the 1920’s. Perhaps the most interesting fact about the Bradford City House was during the Civil War, Major John Chivington used the house as a Union Army recruiting center. Today the Bradford City House lies within the private Ken Caryl Ranch residential neighborhood. Attempts were made to have it torn down because the residents thought it was an eyesore, but preservationists intervened and saved the building. The building has been stabilized and now sits in a park, behind a protective fence. Access to the building is limited due to it’s location inside a private neighborhood.

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6. Mine Office and Store- Wapiti, Colorado

The Wapiti Mine Office and Store is a remarkable structure that is just about to disappear if efforts aren’t made to protect it. Wapiti (also known as Victoria for a short time) was one of the numerous mining towns that dotted the mountain sides high above Breckenridge in the 1800’s. Nothing is left of the town today except for a some tailings piles, the Mine Office/Store, and an outhouse. A 4×4 trail that runs past the site has become increasingly popular over recent years, and unfortunately, vandals have begun to destroy the Mine Office/Store, ripping the log walls of the rear section down to use as benches around a fire ring where evidence shows the dressed boards from the front and sides of the building have been burned.  Although destruction or vandalism of historic buildings over 50 years old is felony, the law is hard to enforce in areas as remote as Wapiti. Sadly, if actions aren’t taken to stop the destruction, the Wapiti Mine Office/Store will be totally gone. Due to the fragile state of the building I prefer to not give directions to it.

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7. General Store- Rugby, Colorado

Thousands of people buzz by the abandoned general store at Rugby, Colorado every day and never notice it- This impressive red brick building lies just west of I-25, literally 100 yards off the side of the road about 15 miles north of Trinidad. There is an overpass at the site that steals your attention as you drive under it, and people seldom notice the building sitting at the old town site.  Taking Exit 41/Rugby Road as you travel south on Interstate 25 will take you down a pot-holed and rough stretch of pavement that runs behind the store and skirts the foothills to the west. You can see the store on your left  as you drive down this road, however it does sit on private property, and an occupied ranch house is right next to the building.

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8. The Last House- Querida, Colorado

Querida was a mining town in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s located east of Westcliff/Silvercliff. The town sprang up to house the workers of the Bassick Mine. Today all of the town except for this lone house is gone. The monstrous tailings pile from the Bassick Mine can be seen across the road from the old house. Getting to Querida is easy from Westcliff/Silvercliff, just take Highway 96 east about 10 miles, and look for County Road 341. Go south on 341 and the abandoned house that marks the site will be on the right hand side of the road.

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9. The Soda Shop- Pritchett, Colorado

It appears that the entire business district of Pritchett, Colorado is abandoned or vacant these days, and the Soda Shop is the crown jewel of them all. You can look in the windows and still see the chairs and the counter, and the faded and peeling paint on the windows advertise “Soda, Candy, Cigarettes.” Pritchett can be found in Baca County, in the far southeast corner of Colorado. Getting there is via Highway 160 east out of Trinidad.

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10. Hotel- Ashcroft, Colorado

The hotel at the ghost town of Ashcroft, Colorado is the quintessential image that comes to most peoples minds when they think of a “Ghost Town”- It has that haunting, forlorn, old west feeling to it, and when you see it you’d expect a pack of dusty cowboys to be sitting around a table inside playing cards and smoking cigars. The hotel at Ashcroft is a definite “bucket list” destination for the ghost towner, and the rest of the town is just as appealing. Ashcroft is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is cared for by the Aspen Historical Society. Ashcroft is located about 12 miles south of Aspen by taking Castle Creek Road at the roundabout on Highway 82 on the west edge of Aspen. A small fee or donation is expected to visit the site, and there is a small lock box to deposit the money in near the trailhead that runs through the ghost town.

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11. Miner’s Cabin- Geneva City, Colorado

This fantastic old cabin has weathered the elements at nearly 12,000 ft. elevation for over 100 years! Geneva City is a remote ghost town on the far southern edge of Clear Creek County, situated at the very top of Geneva Gulch along the headwaters of Geneva Creek. Surrounded by towering, snow capped mountains stained red from their high iron content, Geneva City is among the most picturesque ghost towns in Colorado…if you can find it! Getting there is not easy, and requires a long, steep drive up a rocky, extremely narrow 4×4 trail. The trail to Geneva City starts as the turn off to the Geneva Gulch Campground off of Guanella Pass, drive on past all of the campgrounds, continue on past the Shelf Lake trailhead, then up a treacherous, rocky patch through private property. You just keep following this trail up the hill, eventually you reach the ruins of two old cabins and a small lake. There is a fork in the road that branches left and goes over a hill, take this fork and you will drop down into the basin where Geneva City lies.

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12. Knights of Pythias Lodge, Central City, Colorado

This great old fraternal order lodge building in downtown Central City had it’s roof cave in under heavy snows last year, and the out-of-state owner nearly tore it down as a result. The State Historical Society intervened and work was done over the summer of 2015 to stabilize the crumbling brick walls of the building. The future of the building remains unclear at this point. The building is located adjacent to the Century Casino, and next door to the Post Office in Central City.

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13. Ed’s Tavern- Starkville, Colorado

Ed’s Tavern is a two-story sandstone block building with a lot of character located in Starkville. The lower level of the tavern may still be occupied or used as storage. The semi-desert setting of this old coal mining town makes for a striking backdrop to the sandstone and adobe structures that line it’s streets. Starkville is still a populated place, and is somewhat of a suburb of Trinidad, Colorado. It can be reached by taking Interstate 25 south from Denver to Trinidad, then take Exit 11/Starkville.

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14. Saloon or General Store- San Joseville, Colorado

San Joseville is a mystery among Colorado towns. Nobody is quite sure when it was first settled by Mexican ranchers, and nobody is quite sure when it vanished. The newest markers in the nearby Martinez Cemetery date to the mid-1890’s, so it is safe to assume that San Joseville faded at about that time. Today, all that remains of this little ranching community is the ruins of what was either the saloon or general store.  San Joseville is located  about 35 miles southeast of La Junta, Colorado along the Purgatoire River, along County Road 804. The canyon it is found in is called “Nine Mile Bottom” by the local ranchers. The town site is on private property but can be seen easily from the road.

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15. Miner’s Shack- Perigo, Colorado

This precariously tipping miner’s shack in Perigo, Colorado amazes me each spring when the snow melts and the road in to the site becomes passable- I’m sure that every winter will be this shacks’ last, but defying all odds, each spring the old shack is still standing. Perigo was another of Gilpin Counties many mining towns of the 1800’s, and once had a store, a saloon, and an enormous 6o-stamp mill that pulverized ore from the area mines. Perigo struggled into the 1930’s as a supply station, but rapidly disappeared after that. Today the site of Perigo is marked by a number of  tin-sided shacks similar to this one, one dressed lumber house, and the ramshackle ruins of the huge stamp mill. Getting to Perigo is via Gamble Gulch Road one mile south of Rollinsville off of Highway 119. Follow Gamble Gulch Road up the narrow, overgrown valley, and eventually you will come to a tiny meadow where the ruins of the town can be seen among the tall grass and pine trees.

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16. Abandoned Catholic Church- Medina Plaza, Colorado

This abandoned church at Medina Plaza, Colorado sits off the shoulder of Highway 12 west of Trinidad. There is a small turnout where you can park, and the church appears to be on public land.

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17. Assayer’s Office- Caribou, Colorado

A couple of stone buildings- one supposedly a hotel, and this building which is thought to have been the Assayer’s Office, and one tumbledown log cabin are all that remain to mark the site of Caribou. Caribou was once one of the largest silver mining towns in Colorado, and hosted several blocks of businesses, saloons, a school, hotels, and many residences. The silver crash of 1893 spelled doom for Caribou, as did fires, the harsh winters, and incessant gale force winds that swept the hillside the town was built on. Eventually, the population left, and by the 1930’s Caribou was empty. By the late 1970’s only a few buildings were left, and today hardly any evidence of the town remains. Getting to Caribou is easy from Nederland, just take Caribou Road on the NW end of Nederland up the hill about 9 miles. It is a popular hiking spot with plenty of parking up top. The Caribou town site is privately owned by the Hendricks Mining Company, but foot travel in the area is allowed. so please respect the site in order to keep it open to the public.

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18. The”One Stop” General Store- Delhi, Colorado

Delhi was another of the tiny rural communities along Highway 350 in Las Animas County that was wiped out during the dust bowl years and the great depression of the 1930’s. Today the old Delhi “One Stop” General Store sits forlorn and forgotten by time. The awning over the front that once stood over a gas pump is still relatively intact, and faded, vintage advertising adorns the walls and windows of the store. A few other buildings are scattered around the site as well. Delhi lies along Highway 350 between La Junta and Trinidad.

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19. Train Station- Smelter Town, Colorado

This fantastic train station sits abandoned on the property of a sand and gravel company just north of Salida, Colorado. Smelter Town was a suburb of Salida in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s where, as the name suggests, smelting of ores took place on a large scale. It was an industrial community, surrounded by smokestacks, workshops and railroad tracks. Ore was hauled in from the surrounding mines, and refined here before being shipped to Denver and other centers across the country. With the decline of large-scale mining in Colorado, Smelter Town began to die.  Today, this old train station, several abandoned workshops, a few residential dwellings, and a towering, 300 ft. tall smokestack remain to mark the site. Reaching Smelter Town from Salida is as easy as locating the giant smokestack that towers over the town in the valley, and driving towards it. Technically, the site is reached by taking Highway 291 to County Road 150, County Road 150 makes a loop through the site. The abandoned train station sits high on a bluff above the smokestack.

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20. General Store- Garo, Colorado

In the heart of South Park the abandoned general store is all that remains of the ranching and supply town of Garo. Garo was the phonetic pronunciation of “Guiraud” the last name of a French rancher who first settled the area. The town once had the general store, a school, church and a few houses. One of the last owners of the general store met an untimely, tragic, and mildly humorous end- One day the owner was showing a local cowboy some of the revolvers he had for sale, the owner fumbled and dropped one of the guns, which was loaded, and it discharged, shooting the store owner in the buttocks. He developed gangrene is his embarrassing wound, and later died from his injuries. The old store at Garo can be found by taking Highway 285 southwest out of Denver to Fairplay, then by taking the Highway 9 exit southeast towards Hartsell. Garo lies along Highway 9.

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21. Mercantile- Fondis, Colorado

Fondis was once an important logging and ranching center east of Castle Rock in Elbert County. Much of the lumber used to build the early buildings and homes of Denver, as well as the mining camps of the foothills came from Elbert County and passed through Fondis. Fondis had a church, a pair of stores (both of which still stand, the red brick one pictured above, and a wood one on the adjacent corner) a school, a number of homes and numerous ranches and farms in the outlying areas. Fondis is almost deserted today, having only a handful of people that still call it home. The old wooden general store is currently being restored, but the red brick building is abandoned and in a state of decay. You can reach Fondis by taking Highway 86 east out of Castle Rock to County Road 77. Take County Road 77 south to County Road 98, take County Road 98 west to it’s intersection with County Road 69, and there you will find Fondis.

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22. Saloon- Trinchera, Colorado

Trinchera, Colorado is another seldom mentioned gem of Colorado ghost towns. It ranks towards the top of my list for the best ghost towns in the state.  Trinchera was a railroad and ranching town that dates to the 1880’s. A very small population remains in Trinchera, but there are no businesses or services that are still open. There are several great abandoned buildings that all deserve a spot on this list, but I could only pick one, so I chose the saloon. Along one side of the building, in faded black paint, are the words “Cold Beer.”  Trinchera is south and east of Trinidad along the bluffs that line the border with New Mexico. Take Highway 160 east out of Trinidad, then take County Road 81.5 souteast to Trinchera.

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23. Lunch Room & Hotel- Up Top, Colorado

Currently, the entire ghost town of Up Top is for sale, so if your pockets are deep enough you can own your own town! This log two-story building was said to be the lunch room and hotel for passengers on the train that once ran over La Veta Pass. There are numerous houses, cabins, a church, the old train depot, and a few other structures at Up Top. It’s an interesting place to visit in the fall when the Aspen leaves turn gold.  Getting there is by taking Highway 160 west out of Walsenburg, then taking the Old La Veta Pass turnoff (County Road 443) which will wind it’s way up the old railroad grade to Up Top. Continuing west past Up Top will bring you back out to Highway 160 on the west slope of La Veta Pass.

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24. Miner’s Shack- Summerville, Colorado

It won’t be long until this old miner’s shack in Summerville is lost to the elements. It has already survived the numerous Boulder County forest fires of the past 20 years, and the floods of 2013 which devastated so much of the surrounding area. A small cluster of cabins similar to this one make up Summerville, which was a gold mining camp of the late 1800’s. Summerville can be found east of Gold Hill on Gold Run Road as you wind your way down the mountain to Salina and then on to Boulder canyon via Four Mile Canyon Road.

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25. Hotel- South Platte, Colorado

This ghostly hotel is all that remains to mark the site of South Platte, a stagecoach and railroad stop along the South Platte River in the Deckers area.  The 14-room hotel was built in 1887 and served travelers and fisherman into the 1930’s. It can be found by taking Highway 285 south out of Denver to Conifer. From Conifer take South Foxton Road south to County Road 96 (West Platte River Road) enjoy the scenic surroundings as you follow the South Platte River and the Hotel will emerge on your right hand side near a parking area used by fisherman.

 

2016 Colorado Ghost Town Calendar by Jeff Eberle

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Comments
  1. Laurel says:

    Bob’s GGGrandfather and GGUncle were members of the Knights of Pythias in Central City!

  2. Kevin Singel says:

    Nice work here! Love the combination of artistic photography and excellent writing.

  3. Laurine Mercier says:

    I am familiar with many of these buildings. Very interesting. Thanks!

  4. Jerry & Karen says:

    Thanks for the pics and brief history. Familiar with several, particularly Model and Delhi. I believe San Joseville is one I may know. Have family in or near these. Added this to my bucket list fo Colorado.

  5. Tom says:

    Thank you, Interesting subject, do I see a book in this, hope so.

    • Jeff Eberle says:

      Thank You Tom, And yes! A book is in the works. Hoping to have it done sometime in early 2016. I will have more information regarding the book when it is ready on both my blog and Facebook page “Colorado Ghost Town Travels.”

  6. Erin Doherty Comden says:

    The saloon in Trinchera is a different building. The picture on this page is actually Doherty Mercantile which was a general storeand is across the street. Both buildings are on private property. Cool pictures though!

    • Jeff Eberle says:

      Thanks for the information Erin! My bad, I thought that was the saloon, but I must not have gotten a photo of that when I passed through. And, yes, everything in Trinchera is privately owned since I failed to mention that.

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