When George Andrew Jackson stumbled upon gold near Idaho Springs in 1859, it was the first major stash discovered in Colorado. Today, Idaho Springs offers a picture of how the gold rush began in Colorado. The downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places and visitors can explore museums, a working mine, a pioneer cemetery and other glimpses into the state’s mining history. When you stop to glimpse a piece of history, don’t forget to make plans for Idaho Springs rafting on Clear Creek. For more information about paddling this fun, exciting creek visit our Clear Creek Rafting page.
When the Colorado gold rush began, some 50,000 treasure-seeking pioneers streamed into Idaho Springs, Clear Creek Canyon and the surrounding towns. One area near Idaho Springs has been dubbed the richest square mile on Earth. As miners explored deeper underground, the 4.5-mile Argo Tunnel was dug from the town to Central City to prevent flooding in the maze of mineshafts. At the Idaho Springs end of the tunnel? The Argo Gold Mine & Mill. It’s a National Historic site worth touring and panning for gold.
Post-rafting, peruse the downtown district. In a few short blocks you’ll find Colorado microbrews, locally roasted coffee, homemade ice cream, natural mineral springs and historic mining equipment. Now this is Colorado. Use the “Directions” button inside the map to see driving directions to Idaho Springs.