16 Best Things to Do in Idaho Springs, CO

Idaho Springs, CO
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Colorado's most populated Statutory City, Idaho Springs, is home to more than 20,000 residents in Clear Creek County.

Idaho Springs is a great place to get away from the city or as a pit stop on the route to one of Colorado's ski resorts.

According to the census, 1,717 people were living there in 2010.

A few miles west of Denver, Idaho Springs may be nestled in the mountains above Golden, along Clear Creek Canyon.

Some say the city got its name from a Native American chief and his people making yearly pilgrimages to the nearby radium hot springs, where they would soak in the springs' purportedly therapeutic properties.

In the early years of the Pike's Peak Gold Rush, prospectors founded the town in 1859, and it became a major mining hub in the late nineteenth century.

Even though Georgetown is Clear Creek County's largest settlement, the county seat has stayed in Idaho Springs for historical reasons.

Numerous recreational opportunities are available year-round in the summer and winter months.

The area has a stunning landscape and a charming city that everybody knows and loves.

Let's explore the best things to do in Idaho Springs!

Cap Off the Night at the Yeti Saloon

View of Yeti Saloon
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The Yeti Saloon, previously the West Winds Tavern, is a dive pub with a traditional American aesthetic that serves as a gathering spot for the community.

This is the ideal location to relax and appreciate the Colorado scenery and community while you're in between excursions.

View of Yeti Saloon
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The Yeti Saloon is a great place to stop on the route to your next Colorado adventure.

Customers in Idaho Springs may expect to find a wide selection of local and foreign beer, spirits, and a wide range of creative drinks at their establishment.

Skate at the Frozen Fire Rink

You can enjoy the gorgeous Colorado mountain landscape all year round at the FROZEN FIRE RINK, which is a synthetic ice rink.

Skate on the Frozen Fire Rink this winter and create lasting moments with your loved ones!

Enjoy s'mores and hot chocolate around its fire pits and heaters to keep you warm afterward.

From Denver, it's just a short and pleasant journey to get to the skating rink!

Those who live in Clear Creek, Colorado, don't get to enjoy the fresh mountain air and a broad range of weather so that they may squander it!

The Frozen Fire Rink is a great place to have some family fun.

Check Out Charlie Tayler Water Wheel

View of Charlie Tayler Water Wheel
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The waterwheel was originally one of Tayler's five stamp mills, but it was transferred to its current position in 1948 as part of a community effort.

Charlie Tayler built Colorado's largest water wheel, the Charlie Tayler Water Wheel, in 1893.

At his gold mines on Ute Creek, Tayler employed the water wheel to operate a stamp mill for processing ore.

View of Charlie Tayler Water Wheel
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Tayler, who lived to be 94, credited his long life to not shaving, bathing, or kissing.

In 1946, his heirs donated the wheel to the residents of Idaho Springs, and it was transported to its current location in front of the Bridal Veil Falls cascade.

Throughout the spring and summer of 1988, volunteers and private donations rebuilt it, and on the 16-17th of July, it was dedicated as part of Gold Rush Days.

Tour the Town with Jeep Tours Colorado by Native Jeeps

If you'd like a personal tour guide who will show you the best of Clear Creek County, look no further.

We provide a range of guided tour choices for you and your party to choose from at Jeep Tours Colorado.

Four-wheeling and off-roading in Colorado is second nature to the company's guides, who collectively have over two decades of expertise.

It is run by a team of adventure seekers committed to providing its visitors with an unforgettable experience in Colorado.

With Jeep Tours Colorado, you'll drive a custom-built Jeep with all the bells and whistles you need to tackle even the most difficult routes.

Bring Out the Adrenaline Rush with Liquid Descent Whitewater Rafting

We recommend Liquid Descent Rafting for all of your crafting needs in Colorado!

Trips on Clear Creek and the Colorado River are available.

There are three levels of difficulty: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

The finest recreational opportunity Colorado has to offer is right here at your fingertips!

Whitewater rafting is a great way to spend time with your best friends, family, or coworkers while experiencing an exhilarating and entertaining adventure.

LD's rafting adventures in Colorado will be your summer's highlight, so secure your seat today!

Tour the Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel

View of Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel
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Idaho Springs, Colorado's Argo Gold Mine and Mill is a historic gold mine and milling facility with an intact gold mill situated near the entry point of the Argo Tunnel.

Several gold mines in Virginia Canyon, Nevadaville, Central City, and Gilpin Gulch needed to be drained during the tunnel's construction.

For this reason, a big mill was erected near the Idaho Springs entry to handle a considerable volume of ore that began to escape through this route.

One of the world's largest tunnel and milling operations at the time, it recovered about $100 million in gold (almost $1 trillion now, applying inflation).

View of Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel
Billy Hathorn, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It sent another $200 million in high-value ores to Denver smelters, which melted them into gold bars.

After a severe hydraulic disaster in the tunnel in January 1943, the facility was shut down and never reopened following a government embargo on gold mining through World War II.

James N. Maxwell and his investment group bought it in 1976 to preserve a relic of the Colorado gold rush.

It has been restored and relaunched as a tourist destination and mining museum and currently offers daily tours.

Hike at Beartracks Lake Trail

A lake on the challenging Beartracks Lake Path is an 18.2-kilometer circular trail near Idaho Springs, Colorado.

The Beartracks Burn is visible from this trail for a short distance, which continues through the burnt woodland, over an open region, and finally to the main lake.

Three smaller lakes at and above the treeline are reachable only by difficult, unimproved routes.

Highly skilled hikers should only attempt the topmost lake.

Beartrack Lake offers a variety of wooded settings and lakeside campsites for visitors to enjoy.

Have a Picnic at Courtney-Ryley-Cooper Park

This park, located in the city's heart, is a favorite gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

It was named after American circus actor, publicist, and writer Courtney Ryley Cooper.

Picnic tables dot the grassy area where Clear Creek meanders.

You'll find a playground and a pavilion at the park's eastern edge.

It is first-come, first-served at the pavilion since the City takes no reservations.

Every Friday in the summer, the park becomes home to a Farmers Market.

The park has a public restroom.

Try Extreme Winter Activities at Echo Mountain

View of Echo Mountain
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Thirty-six miles from downtown Denver, this mountain provides an action-packed getaway.

Located between Idaho Springs and Evergreen, Colorado's Echo Mountain Park is the nearest ski resort to the Denver area.

It is a handy mountain and timetable for those in the Front Range.

View of Echo Mountain
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It's a great peak for individuals who like to ski at odd hours or at night because it's so close to the capital.

In addition, it's ideal for both freestylers and racers.

Sport newbies will feel quite at home here as well.

Try Gold Panning at Hidee Gold Mine

Colorado's Hidee Gold Mine is a defunct gold mine located in Gilpin County.

Tourists flock to Black Hawk, Colorado, largely because of the efforts of local people and the Hidee Gold Mine Corporation, which tried to emulate the history of mining in the area.

You may take guided tours of the mine and learn how it was mined in the past and present.

Tourists may also experience what it's like to be a miner by stopping at a gold ore vein and using a single-jack hammer and chisel to chip a piece of gold ore loose, which they can then take as a souvenir.

Also, since 1988, it's been available to the public.

Bring Home a Piece of the Town from The Wild Grape

If you're looking for a unique gift to remember your time in Idaho Springs by, stop by The Wild Grape!

There is no better place to purchase for yourself or a loved one than this small gift shop.

The Wild Grape is the perfect place for you and your family to stop for a bite while traveling through Colorado.

Grapes are a big part of their diet, but they're not the only thing you'll find here.

Candles, kitchen and home decor, jewelry, wine glasses, and cards are just some of the other items you'll find.

You may also find gifts for that special someone or "selfish requirements" at this store.

Treating yourself is never a bad idea, especially on a day like today!

Make your way to this unique shop and be surprised by what you come across!

Awaiting your arrival is the Wild Grape!

Explore the Town's Past at Idaho Springs Visitor Center & Heritage Museum

View of Idaho Springs Visitor Center & Heritage Museum
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It would be best if you visit the Idaho Springs Visitor Center and Heritage Museum to learn more about this fascinating mining town.

Entering this museum is like walking back in time as you discover the city's fascinating heritage and rapid development.

Visiting the Visitor Center & Heritage Museum is a great way to make the most of your time in the area.

You'll learn about the top sights, restaurants, and excursions in the area.

A museum for visitors of all ages is located at the Visitor Center & Heritage Museum.

It showcases the early days of mining in Idaho Springs and Colorado and the significance it was given in the creation of both.

It also features a gift store at the end of the trip to purchase souvenirs from the area.

The Visitor Center & Heritage Museum is a good place to plan your next trip.

Drive Along Mt. Evans Scenic Byway

Driving along this byway is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

At a distance of 35 miles west of Denver, the Mount Evans Scenic Byway may be accessed by car.

High alpine lakes and awe-inspiring fauna may be found during the 14-mile journey to more than 14,000 feet.

The Mount Goliath Nature Area, Peak Lake Park, and the Crest House at the summit are some of the byway highlights.

At the beginning of the Mt. Evans byway, Echo Lake Park is also worth a visit.

Go Fishing at Mt. Evans Trout Fishing LLC

Mountain Trout Fishing is located in a mountain canyon alongside Chicago Creek, about 45 minutes from Denver on Highway 103 (Exit 240 off I-70).

This sunny getaway is set against a green wooded mountainside, ideal to be your family fishing headquarters!

At Grandma & Grandpa's Fishing Pond, you and your family may enjoy a day of fishing together as a family.

The pond is private; thus, it does not require a license.

Compared to the trout offered in supermarkets, these trout's exquisite flavor and firm flesh reared in freezing mountain rivers are unparalleled.

Take a Dip at Indian Hot Springs

View of Indian Hot Springs
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The Argo Gold Mine and Mill and the Underhill Museum are within a seven-minute walk of Indian Hot Springs, developed in 1905.

Main building rooms contain steam radiators and half-baths, while the most up-to-date accommodations have shower/tub combinations and coffeemakers in the bathrooms.

Log cabins with kitchens and living rooms are available in various locations, some of which are located right on the banks of a river.

Access to the mineral water pool and the outdoor hot tubs are included in the package.

For a price, guests may enjoy mud baths and spa treatments, as well as private hot mineral tubs.

Explore the Region's History at Underhill Museum

1416 Miner Street was built by Dr. James Underhill and his wife, Lucy, as a house and office with two separate front entrances: business and social visits.

In 1954, Dr. Underhill died at the age of 83 after spending his final years in this building.

Until 1963, Lucy resided in the building, which she gave to the Idaho Springs Public Library and was later transformed into a museum.

As you tour the Underhill Museum, you'll find lovely furnishings from the era, as well as images of Idaho Springs taken in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Even Lucy's old kitchen is on display in the museum!

Although she came from a well-to-do family, she chose more basic equipment.

Lucy Underhill's Victorian Garden and Courtyard are located behind the house.

She loved to plant and cultivate delphiniums that towered over her head in her garden plots.

She liked hosting dinner parties in the garden for her friends.

Final Thoughts

Thanks to the abundance of things to see and do, there's never a dull moment in Idaho Springs.

You'll want to come back, again and again, to take advantage of the variety of alternatives available throughout the year.