Summit County, Colorado
White River National Forest
Dillon Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
This short spur trail off of the Peru Creek trail offers many old mining structures in a small space, and all of them are fairly easy to access. That makes this a very special trail to Colorado.
It starts 3.75 miles from the Peru Creek trailhead at a prominent sign marking the way. The Peru Creek trail is an easy one to this point, and the start offers many places to park if you wish to leave your vehicle and walk to the mines instead.
The trail crosses Peru Creek right away, and the crossing is never very deep.
You soon come to the first crossroads. If you turn right here you can visit some buildings associated with the Pennsylvania Mill. Here you will find the largest structure, one you can see from the Peru Creek trail.
The Pennsylvania Mine Water Control Project sign is at another crossroads. If you wish to make a loop around the biggest structure, turn left here and go around behind the structure and then turn down through the trees. When you get to an intersection, turn right to go to the big structure. Then you can loop around to where you started, at the sign.
If you go the other direction, you can visit the structure and never loop around behind it, choosing instead to turn around and go back out after visiting the old building. This is probably easiest.
Topographic maps show that you can continue on past the structure and end up back on the Peru Creek trail. This way is no longer maintained, however, and it is completely blocked. It is difficult to turn around, so you may want to stay out of this area.
The structure here is very large and falling apart, and there is a risk associated with exploring it. Be careful where you step, and don't go under parts that look like they may fall any minute. This is a dangerous area, though there are many opportunities for some great photographs.
Go back out to the main trail and continue up. The next intersection is where the Pennsylvania Mine is found, accessed if you turn left at this intersection. You can't get any further than the mine itself, so turn around after exploring.
Continue further to the next intersection where you can turn left again to explore another, unnamed mine. Come back out the way you went in.
After these mines you work your way back through the gulch to the basin at the end where the Silver Spoon Mine is. The trail that went to the mine is no longer available, so you must turn around at the sign that says it's closed.
The scenery at the end is breathtaking and worth the trip even though it ends very soon.
Information last updated on October 1st, 2012.