Added by Amy Kesic
The 7:30 Mine Road is an easy hike close to Denver, which begins on the charming Main St. of Silver Plume. You'll explore lots of historic mining ruins, the Griffin Memorial on a dramatic cliff, and end at a small waterfall.
With a name like 7:30 Mine Road, this is one hike I had to investigate to see if it lives up to its name. Even though this is an easier hike than I normally choose, what it lacks in challenging terrain, it makes up for in historic interest. The view isn’t too bad, either.
7:30 Mine Road is about two miles long, according to the map; however, with all the interesting side-spurs to investigate, you can easily end up putting on 2.65 miles going one way. Roundtrip should be a little under 5 miles. The hike starts off from Main Street and Silver Street. You’ll have to find a place to park on Main Street and hike a couple of blocks up Silver to the trailhead. Since the entire village is an old mining town, you’ll start seeing remnants of the old days immediately.
Being a former road, the trail is wide and stony, with a fairly easy grade. At the second switchback you’ll see some deteriorating telephone poles. You can go off-trail here and investigate. This site is the least interesting of them all, but there is an overlook area where you can see a string of ore cars in the gulch.
All along the trail you can see the town of Silver Plume, with Clear Creek running through it, down below. At about the one mile mark, you will cross a field of trees downed by an avalanche. Following this, you’ll come to an old brown shack that is still mostly standing. Take the time to look around, then continue to follow the trail leading west, where there are more buildings to be found.
Along the trail, you’ll find various debris and dilapidated buildings. A pair of cables cross the trail three times. A favorite find was a small cave dug out of the solid rock mountainside. A short tunnel leads to a solid wood door. Behind the door is a very small stone room—no tunnels! Because there are no rotting timbers or loose soil, it is safe to explore this cave. As you progress, you will see a few mine shafts that have been reclaimed by the placement of metals grates across the openings.
Shortly before the end of the hike is the Griffin Memorial. It's on a side spur which you'll recognize by the metal grate on the right; the spur goes left. The memorial is a granite obelisk erected on a dramatic, sheer cliff in honor of Clifford Griffin. Local legend has it that he was playing his fiddle one night on the cliff, when the music stopped and a shot rang out. Details aren’t known, but the shot is attributed to either his brother or himself.
Past the memorial, the trail becomes slightly more dangerous. It crosses a patch of loose rock; be careful crossing here because it’s a long, sheer drop down the mountain. (People with vertigo or height phobias may not want to go further.) Soon you’ll come to a small creek cascading down the mountainside, decorated with old mining equipment. The trail ends here, though you could cross the creek and explore the ruins on the other side.
Besides all the mining history, this hike is full of scenery, particularly some spectacular views of Mt. Sniktau to the west. The trail also passes through some really nice aspen groves, making it a good autumn hike. Because it is exposed to the sun, the snow may not ever get very deep here, but take a shot at snowshoeing along the trail in the winter.
- Day pack with water and snacks
- Sun protection
- Trail shoes
- Trekking poles (optional)
- Snowshoe or cross country ski gear in winter
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Fitness, Hiking, Photography, Rock Climbing, Running, Skiing, Snowshoeing
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Added by Amy Kesic
A mom who decided to get fit a few years ago, I took up running and hiking to keep myself moving. Since moving to the Front Range foothills a year ago, I've spent my free time discovering all the trails I possibly can. I'm in love with Colorado and the Rocky Mountains; I also like to take pictures, and I share my adventures here on The Outbound and on Instagram at @run2themountains.Follow
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