Posts Tagged ‘Elkhorn School’

Elkhorn, dating to the 1880s, in the hills of northern Larimer County was nearly lost in the recent Cameron Peak Fire, the largest forest fire in Colorado history. Heroic efforts by fire fighters, and a little help from Mother Nature slowed the fire just before it consumed this old mining camp and supply depot along Elkhorn Creek, although it does appear that some structures were lost to the flames.

Historic Photo of Elkhorn, Colorado

Very little gold was ever discovered in Larimer County, Colorado- A few deposits in paying quantities were located along Manhattan and Elkhorn Creeks in the Poudre River drainage about 40 miles northwest of Ft. Collins. Two small camps by the same names appeared- Manhattan and Elkhorn. Manhattan, the larger and more important of the two, became the namesake for the Manhattan Mining District which boomed and busted between 1890 and 1905.


Miner’s shacks at Elkhorn in 2018
Current Map of the Cameron Peak Forest Fire- Red Area is burnt area- This indicates the two small shacks pictured in previous photo may have been lost to the fire.

So little gold was found along Elkhorn Creek that the town of Elkhorn never grew to be much more than a few miner’s shacks, a general store, Post Office, and school. Gold fever, which never truly panned in Elkhorn, soon gave way to ranching and logging operations. Elkhorn eked out an existence as a small supply depot for the area. Logging continues in the area to this day…or did prior to the devastating Cameron Peak fire.


One of the old stores at Elkhorn, used as a storage barn today

Elkhorn today is a wide spot in the road along County Road 68. An impressive log store dating to Elkhorn’s boom days can’t be missed as you pass through- Today it serves as a storage barn. A few other miner’s shacks and old log buildings can be seen scattered along the meadow and the hillsides around the old store. All of the area is private property, fenced, and marked. Photos can be taken from the County Road of what remains, although that is unclear following the forest fire.


Elkhorn Store on a sunny day
Elkhorn Store in the fog
Another old shop at Elkhorn- This building and those in the background may have been lost in the Cameron Peak fire according to Forest Service maps showing the fire’s preimeter in the area of Elkhorn.
Elkhorn in the fog
Another shot of Elkhorn on a foggy day




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