For those living in Colorado Springs, there are many surrounding areas where gold and minerals can be found. Most of the better gold-bearing areas will be found west of the city in Teller and Park Counties.
Gold Prospecting in Teller County
The Cripple Creek district is the primary source of gold production and various mineral wealth in Teller County. If you travel for around 45 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, you will end up in the Cripple Creek District.
This area was overshadowed by the famous Pike's Peak Gold Rush
, but this relatively small district is actually responsible for much of Coloradoís wealth in gold. Cripple Creek is in fact the top producer of gold in all of Colorado, and is also one of the most productive gold-mining districts amongst all the states.
The early mining efforts at Cripple Creek where primarily from placer mining operations which started when gold was first found in the area around 1859. It took several more decades, after the placer deposits began to be depleted, that interest in the hard rock ores started being developed.
In the Mount Pisgah area some unique gold ores were found. It was discovered that the ore that was thought to be galena was actually sylvanite, a gold telluride. This led to an influx of prospector interest and the major mines were put up, along with the town of Cripple Creek.
Gold Prospecting in Park County
The rich gold-bearing areas can be found as you continue west of Colorado Springs into Park County. Park County takes the eight top spot in terms of gold production amongst all of 64 Coloradoís counties, so it is definitely worth the drive.
The Alma District is one of the most productive districts in this county both in terms of placer gold and lode gold. Found east of the Leadville District, it covers Mosquito- Buckskin, Montgomery, Horseshoe and Alma placers. Placers in this district can be found along the South Platte River to the east of Alma. Their history dates back to the 1870s.
The placers in this county are glacial outwash deposits, and the bulk of the gold in them is largely attributed to the mineralized area on North Star Mountain near the head of the South Platte River along the Continental Divide.
The earliest discoveries in this district were not placers, however, but lode deposits along the headwaters of the South Platte River and Buckskin Gulch. These discoveries date back to 1860.
Silver ore was also discovered on Mount Lincoln and Mount Bross in 1871, fueling the mining industry in the area once more.
Fairplay Districtís production of gold is largely placer based, including production from the Snowstorm and Fairplay Placers along the South Platte River. Various placers along Sacramento and Beaver Creeks are also included.
The Tarryall District also has placer gold as its main source of production. Placer deposits along the upper reaches of the Tarryall Creek and its tributaries can be found. This area is to the northwest of Como. Discoveries in this area date all the way back to 1859, slightly before those made in the Fairplay District.
The Tarryall District has two types of placer deposits; first we have the glacial moraines, and second, you have the outwash gravel deposits. The latter can be found downstream from the moraines, and most of them contain some gold.
Also Read: Gold Mining in Colorado
And: The Pike's Peak Gold Rush
Other Minerals Found near Colorado Springs
It may have been the gold and silver that brought thousands of miners to central Colorado over 150 years ago, but donít overlook the other natural treasures that can be found in this area. There are also an abundance of rare minerals that can be found and collected, many of which are quite valuable.
There are numerous areas that are open to mineral collecting. The geology of the region produces mineral varieties such as quartz, fluorite, amazonite, cryolite, and topaz. Some of the better specimens have been found that sell for thousands of dollars, so donít overlook these mineral specimens while you are searching for gold.
Next: Rare Gems & Minerals in Colorado