It has been far too many months since I was able to get out and do some exploring- The high cost of being dumb enough to buy a Jeep, having mistakenly interpreted the term “off-road vehicle” to mean “4×4” when, in relation to Jeeps, “off-road” actually means “broken down and in the garage all the time, thus off-road.” Anyhow, with a loud bang followed by a shower of hot oil across my windshield and cloud of black smoke, my hapless and maddening three year learning experience with Jeep products came to a not-soon-enough end as the innards of my engine splattered out onto Interstate 70. I’d never been so happy in my life knowing the Jeep was finally dead, and soon I’d have another vehicle capable of taking me to the back country for adventures. My first journey in my new, brighter, post-Jeep apocalypse world would be to a little-known ghost town in Gunnison County Colorado named Vulcan.

A bird’s eye view of Vulcan in the late-1890s

Vulcan had long been on my list of Colorado ghost towns to visit. There is one old photo of Vulcan (see above) that appears on numerous other sites across the internet that shows the town during it’s boom days in the late-1890s. Vulcan sprang up on the site of an dormant geyser, the walls of the cavern where the geyser once emerged from the ground were lined with rich, gold-bearing ore. Soon the extinct geyser site became a mine, and Vulcan became the richest gold producer in Gunnison County. Around 1930 the last of the gold ore was finally extracted, and Vulcan was abandoned, joining the growing list of Colorado ghost towns.

Vulcan today is a mere shadow of it’s former glory- Just a few scattered log cabins along the sagebrush dotted rise that leads to the mound of yellow tailings where the mine once was.  The road in to Vulcan is dirt, and can easily be navigated in dry weather if you take it slow- But be warned, it looks like it could become a quagmire oin a rainy day. Another challenge in finding Vulcan is that none of the marked roads in the area correspond to the markings on popular maps and atlases which leads to some confusion- Although the roads all looked right, and followed the correct path, the numbers did not coincide, and it led to me warrying that I had taken a wrong turn somewhere, but I hadn’t.  Please note: All of the buildings at Vulcan are located on PRIVATE PROPERTY which is clearly marked, please stay on the main road and respect other’s land.

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