Hidden Treasures

In the rugged mountains ringing the San Luis Valley, visitors may trace the steps of early prospectors and other fortune seekers who were lured to the region by promises of gold, silver, turquoise, and other minerals. Although the bustling mining camps of the late 19th century have faded, the Valley's frontier spirit lingers. Downtown districts, railroads, mines and landscapes preserve the fascinating stories of the area's rich mining history.
Creede Depot Museum
Creede Undergroud Mining Museum
Rio Grande County Museum
Silver Thread Scenic Byway

Creede: Depot, Underground Mining Museum - The Creede Museum, located in the historic railroad depot, features memorabilia from Creede's boomtown heyday.  The museum houses a large collection of historic photos and documents.  The Underground Mining Museum, located in a man-made cavern, has life-like exhibits that demonstrate historic silver mining techniques and mining equipment. 

Bachelor Loop Tour - The 17 mile Bachelor Loop Tour takes visitors past historic mines and camps in the Creede Mining District.  a four-wheel drive vehicle is not required, but the gravel road has some steep, narrow grades through West Willow Creek Canyon.  Visitors should allow about an hour to drive the full loop, but may turn around at any of the 16 numbered sites. 

Silver Thread Scenic and Historic Byway - Narrow footpaths that once carried nomadic groups through the San Juan Mountains eventually developed into stage coach routes, toll roads, and today’s modern highways.  One of the most beautiful is the Silver Thread Scenic Byway.  On this 135-mile journey linking South Fork, Creede, and Lake City to US 50 west of Gunnison, travelers experience southern Colorado’s rich history, wildlife, and spectacular Rocky Mountain Scenery, including North Clear Creek Falls, one of Colorado’s Seven Natural Wonders.  Another historic route traversed Stoney Pass to link the mining camps of Baker’s Park (now Silverton) with the railhead at Alamosa by way of Creede and the Upper Rio Grande Valley.  Stage coach passengers, mail sacks, and ore wagons bounced over this desolate, high country road.

Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Water Tank - At its height in about 1890, the Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG) had the largest operating narrow gauge railroad network in North America, linking Denver with Santa Fe and other distant cities. This railroad was a major carrier for coal and other minerals. A historic water tank that served the railroad still stands north of US 160 in the town of South Fork. This tank was part of a spur line that extended to the mining town of Creede. 

Rio Grande County Museum - The museum features a collection of stories and artifacts that illuminate the mining heritage of the region.  Del Norte originated as a supply town for the mines of the Summitville District in the Conejos Mountains.  The Summitville Mother Lode drew thousands to the San Juan Mountains and set the stage for the San Luis Valley's homesteading rush.