Vindicator Valley Trail – Cripple Creek, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

Vindicator Valley Trail

This Colorado hiking trail provides a small gold mine of abandoned gold mines. 


Why visit an abandoned mine when you can visit a whole slew of them during one hike? Thanks to Colorado’s Vindicator Valley Trail you can wind your way through a veritable gold mine of old gold mines.

The trail begins at the remains of the Theresa Gold Mine, which started operation in 1895. From there the trail winds its way through the Colorado hills that once called to gold-eyed prospectors, but is now filled with the rusting remains of their ambitions. The Theresa Mine alone operates for decades, finally closing up shop in 1961, after having produced a round 120,000 ounces of gold from them thar hills. Its metal hoist tower and old change house are still standing to remember what was once a pretty good run.

As the two-mile trail continues on, it passes the dilapidated wooden remains of the Anna J. Mine, another of the mines in the valley that was brought together under one conglomerate which connected all of the tunnels together underground, making the land off the trail, extraordinarily unsafe to this day. 

There are other smaller landmarks dotting the landscape such as an old outhouse, brick explosive sheds, and countless little ruins, the purpose of which is hard to determine.

According to one Colorado blog, the remains of over 500 gold mines can be seen along the trail. That’s a great deal more bang for your historic ruin buck than most abandoned mine sites around.   

Know Before You Go

From the town of Victor, take County Road 81 towards Goldfield. Immediately after Goldfield there's a pull off & parking area on the left-hand side for the Theresa Mine and Vindicator Valley Trail. The remains of the Theresa mine are view-able from Teller County Road 81. All roads to the mine are paved with exception of the dirt parking lot, so it's easily accessible with any car. The mine is a short walk up a moderate incline on a well kept gravel trail. Access to Theresa Mine is handicap accessible.

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