Idaho Springs

Long considered the birthplace of the Rocky Mountain Gold Rush, Idaho Springs has attained considerable popularity has an outdoor enthusiasts’ mecca in its own right and a good lodging choice with easy access to six nearby ski resorts.

Its history is well preserved, with numerous restored 19th century mines providing tours and a Main Street that has retained much of its authentic Gold Rush architecture and charm.

In addition to treasures held dear by miners and settlers of a bygone era, Idaho Springs also continues to showcase a resource that brought the area’s early Native American inhabitants to the region: natural hot springs valued for their restorative powers, and Indian Hot Springs is a locals’ and visitors’ favorite.

Scenery is also a huge draw: The highest paved road on the continent goes south out of town and reaches the top of Mountain Evans, one of the state’s 53 Fourteeners – peaks that reach more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Nearby Golden Gate State Park provides views of the Continental Divide, and the drive to Central City and Black Hawk is also scenic.

For outdoor recreation, Idaho Springs provides either direct access or is a great staging area for biking, with the Oh My God Road to Central City challenging and exhilarating. There’s also fishing, golfing, hiking of course, horseback riding, ATVing, climbing and canyoneering, skiing and boarding, whitewater river rafting and ziplining. Woo hoo!