Wanting to hike but not in the mood for any serious climbs, I asked Mark and Bobbie where we might find an “easy” trail around Ouray. They suggested a drive to Ironton, 6 miles south of Ouray on the Million Dollar Highway, then a hike to the Colorado Boy Mine and maybe a couple other mines. Since they had climbed Twin Peaks the previous day they weren’t looking for anything too strenuous, either, so Debbie, Chris, Kim, Jim and I piled into our Subaru to follow the Johnsons to Ironton.
Red Mountain Creek. It’s obvious where Ironton got its name.
A bit of history from the ouraycolorado.com website.
Ironton, founded in 1883 at 9,800 feet elevation, is located at the north end of the Red Mountain Mining District. It was an extremely wealthy town, important as a transportation junction and a stage and supply center. The water in this area contained sulphuric acid, which ate up the metal machinery used in the mines. This was the main factor that lead to the closing of this area's mines. Population was between 800 and 1,000. This included mines and boarding houses in outlying areas. Several buildings are still standing. Through a grant providing funds for stabilization, the Red Mountain Project is currently stabilizing two of the three houses left standing in what was once the town of Ironton.
If you’re interested you can read more about the history of Ironton here..
Trail to Colorado Boy Mine. Look how level this trail is!
Doesn’t look too inviting. I peeked down the hole and there was evidence of recent use. What is wrong with people?
Looking up at some old mining equipment. Looks like we have to go up and see what’s there.
Interesting wooden water pipes .
Our next stop was a few miles away on the road to Guston, Yankee Girl and Genessee mines. We hiked up the dirt road and wandered around the area.
Even if you aren’t interested in old mines the scenery is so lovely it’s a great place to take a little hike.
Suzanne rejoined us yesterday so this morning we’re taking her up Red Mountain #3. It was one of the hikes she was sorry she missed, and we’re willing to tackle the mountain once again. Mark is recuperating nicely from his hernia repair but it will be awhile before he’s back out on the trail.