5 of Colorado's Best Gold Rush Towns

Imagine the time of wagon trains and pioneers on horsebacks. We may not be able to time-hope and go back to this incredible time in history but we can still go and visit some of the historic gold mining towns that these travelers set up as home as they worked their hardest to strike it rich.

Colorado was one of the Rocky Mountain States to be hit by gold rush fever and there are many towns you can still visit to this day that are rich with mining history. Many of them have been left much like they were to preserve the history and historic landscape. To see some of these magnificent towns you only need to follow along the Colorado Gold Trail. These are just a few of the cities and towns you’d be visiting:

Black Hawk

The gold rush began in Black Hawk in 1859. It became home to a variety of gaming, saloons, and brothels, much of which you can still visit today. There is even still a self-guided walking tour that will take you past many of the historical landmarks. Black Hawk is still home to an abundance of casinos and prides itself on having the largest number in all of Colorado.

Central City

The twin city of Black Hawk you can visit both of these places in the same day if you wanted. Like Black Hawk the gold rush began here at the same time in 1859 and Central City held many of the same allures, gambling, booze, and hookers. Believe it or not Central City almost became the state capitol as it was more culturally diverse than Denver. In the 1860’s opera houses opened up including the Central City Opera House where you can still enjoy a show to this day. If you’re feeling like you want to partake in some of the cities more sordid history you can visit on Madame Lou Bunch Day and celebrate the historical Madame.

Idaho Springs

If you want a town that will take you back in time then there is nowhere better than Idaho Springs. The gold history is still very much alive and you can still visit several mines nearby. The most notable are the Argo Gold Mine and Mill and the Phoenix Gold Mine which is still a functioning, working mine. For a nice stroll you might head through downtown and take in the well-preserved buildings. After a long day gold panning for your own riches you can enjoy a dip in the hot mineral springs for a relaxing evening.


Heading to the mountains you’ll be lucky to find Breckenridge, Colorado’s oldest and largest town to be found within Summit County. Like the other towns on this list it began as a mining town and you’ll find plenty of evidence of it. This stop is chock full of history with more than 250 buildings listed within the National Historic Register.

Also Read: Gold Prospecting in Colorado

And: The Pikes Peak Gold Rush


Most of us imagine the miners of old as a rather gruff and grizzly bunch, and we probably wouldn’t be far off the mark. To this day you are likely to find locals fitting this rough description. You can even still go to a great celebration and watch the races at Burro Days. If you’re really devoted to getting the full picture you can visit the city during the Mountain Man Rendezvous that takes place each July. There are even reenactments that display what life was like in early Colorado. The South Park City Museum can’t be missed and you should make it a point to stroll past the 40+ historic buildings. Some of the buildings you can visit include a trapper’s cabin, saloon, store, blacksmiths shop and much more.