Field Trips

For many club members, field trips are a highlight of GTC membership. We get to know each other, laugh and have a great time while exploring our beautiful state, and one of our most vulnerable cultural resources, Ghost Towns. Typically, our own members plan, organize, and lead field trips to historic sites.

Field trips occur often, and typically there is at least one a month, or more in the temperate seasons.  Our excursions take many forms, from leisurely drives to hard-core four-wheel adventures.  Hikes also occur often, and can be easy day hikes all the way to cross country snowshoeing in the winter months. Lastly, we’ve also taken longer tours, traveling to several states and parts of Canada, visiting significant Ghost Towns, historical sites, monuments, national parks, and local historians along the way. At the GTC we do it all!

2022 Field Trip Schedule

February 26 – Snowshoe trip to Boston
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

March 26 – Snowshoe trip to Saints John, a Ghost Town Club tradition
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

April 30 – Phoenix, Freeland & Lamartine Tunnel
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

May 28 – Road Trip to Keota
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

June 15 – Four Mile House
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

June 25 – A Ghost of a Ghost: Caribou and it’s Cemetery
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

July 16 & 17 – Trip to Salida & St. Elmo
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

July 30 – Independence and its Rough Riding Neighbor, Ruby
[click here to view/download trip itinerary]

September –  TBD

October – TBD

Want to Join us for a Field Trip?

Here’s what you need to know:
When visiting historic town sites, mines, mills and other areas, hazardous conditions may be present.   These hazards include but are not limited to conditions of deteriorated buildings, equipment and chemicals at abandoned mine workings, natural hazards such as rivers, streams, cliffs, steep slopes, and other hazards which are all part of the activities engaged in by the Club.

Here’s what we need from you:
If you are planning to attend any of our scheduled Field Trips this year, please download and complete our 2022 Release of Claims Form. Completed electronic (PDF) forms may be returned to us via email, and/or a hard copy may be returned to us on the day of the field trip.  If you have questions, or concerns regarding GTC Field trips, please contact us.

Past Field Trip Reports

Field Trip Report – FEBRUARY 26, 2022

Snowshoe Trip to Boston
by Nathan Doty

On Saturday, February 26, 2022, Ghost Town Club of Colorado members Jason Messing, Josh Robinson, Charles Russell, Darrell Arndt, Nathan Doty, and Ashley Doty met in the parking lot of the Mayflower Gulch Trail (39.4306, -106.1663) to explore upper Mayflower Gulch and the town of Boston in its center. Mayflower Gulch sits at the base of Centennial peaks Drift, Pacific, Crystal, and Fletcher. The Golden Crest, Nova Scotia Boy, and Parker mines surround Boston on different sides of the gulch. Josh Robinson, the trip leader, distributed an itinerary packet, which included a map of the area and history of the town and mine of Boston.

Photo credit: GTC member Darrell Arndt

Everything was covered with snow, but it was a beautiful day, with mild temperatures, blue skies, and no wind. After about a 1.5 mile snowshoe on a hard-packed trail up a gentle slope, the group arrived at the town site of Boston. A few prominent ruins remain at the town site, including the old hotel, which is by far the largest of what remains. The group stopped for lunch just up the old main street at the only fully-roofed structure in the town. This structure boasts an attached outhouse.

Photo credit: GTC member Darrell Arndt

This is a popular trail, and the group was in luck – a few groups of curious skiers inquired about the town, and Josh used the opportunity to educate the public about the history of the town. They were grateful to learn how to interpret their surroundings!

From here, the group set off to snowshoe up the rest of the gulch toward the tram station, which still stands today. Its steel cable still hangs in the air, and as the group approached the tram station they could suddenly make out the entire length of the cable against the white of the snow. You could follow the cable carefully with your eye all the way up the mountainside, where a small structure was visible. From our vantage on the gulch floor, this structure appears perched on a cliff wall. Miners loaded ore into buckets attached to this cable from the mouth of the tunnel, which traveled through the air down to the tram station.

Photo credit: GTC member Darrell Arndt

Attached to the side of the tram station is an interesting diagonal ladder. And just next to this structure lies the ruins of an old cabin whose beautiful hand-hewn logs fit perfectly together. This style of construction is very rare; this is one of only two such cabins remaining in the state that Josh is aware of.

Jason captured lots of drone footage, which the club can’t wait to see. We snow shoed back down to the town site at a leisurely pace, examined the buildings in the town site once more, and walked back to the parking lot.

We stopped at Beau Jo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs on the way back to Denver for food and good company.

Video credit: GTC member Jason Messing

Field Trip Report – September 11, 2021

Ghosts of the Swan: Tiger, Parkville and Their Interesting Neighbors Wapiti and Rexford
by Jason Messing

On Saturday September 11, 2021, Ghost Town Club of Colorado members Ed Bathke, Dennis Kristensen, Jason Messing and Josh Robinson along with guest Joey Hiben met in the parking lot of the Loge in Breckenridge to begin a day exploring the ghost town sites of Tiger, Parkville, Wapiti, and Rexford. Trip leader Josh Robinson handed out research documents containing information and maps of the sites, discussed the day’s itinerary and led the caravan to our first town site – Tiger.

Along the roadside of the short drive to Tiger, ravines littered with boulders rambled along echoing the dredge mining days of the area. Though no buildings remain at Tiger today, we made quick work of orienting ourselves to Main Street with the help of a 1940 photograph by William Fick. Ed Bathke and Jason Messing posed for a photograph having the same background scenery as the historic photo – a great ‘then and now’ photo opportunity.

A mile or so further our group stopped at the mouth of Georgia Gulch and the Main Street of Parkville. No evidence remains of this boomtown once said to be home to 10,000 residents. Parkville was also home of the first Masonic Lodge in Colorado—a monument was even erected to celebrate it. Neither exist today, unfortunately.

A little further on we parked our vehicles, grabbed our lunches, and hiked several hundred feet through the trees to reach Parkville’s cemetery. Before relaxing in the peaceful serenity of the forest grove, we were able to clearly identify at least 10 gravesites. Jason sent his drone up into the sky to get some impressive aerial photos of the site.

For the second half of the day, Josh first led our group on to the 4×4 road from Parkville to the remnants of Wapiti (meaning “Elk” in Native American Language). Here we examined the collapsed remains of the Post Office which officially closed in 1903. We took another opportunity to do some “then and now” photos around the Post Office.

For our last stop, we headed back down the road passing by Parkville once more, and then took the very rough 4×4 road up to the remains of Rexford. Thanks to the aerial images and maps provided by Josh, we were able to locate the foundations of at least seven buildings, and clearly identify the street grid.

We ended the day on a great note, stopping for dinner at an Italian restaurant in Breckenridge. We shared stories of the day, laughed, and joked, and overall enjoyed each other’s company before heading home for the night.

Field Trip Report – August 21, 2021

Preston, Larium, and the Mystery Site at Mountain Pride
by Ethan Knightchilde

On Saturday, August 21, 2021, fourteen ghost towners met in the parking lot of a Breckenridge City Market to explore the remains of Preston, Larium, and a mystery site. Trip leader Josh Robinson handed out materials, discussed the itinerary, and led the carpool to the next gathering point.

All went well until at least two vehicles made wrong turns in the obnoxious roundabouts that have propagated in the Breckenridge-Frisco area like cheat grass in an untended field. Upon regathering, the caravan proceeded on a relatively short route, which included driving through the entry of one of those rich-people-type mountain homes.

At Preston, we parked on the main road across from the ruins of the old boarding house. A nearby placard showed what the scattered lumber on the ground had looked like in 1940 when it formed an actual building. The impressive structure had boasted two entrances not ten feet from each other; the practical uses of such a feature were not lost on those in attendance. The group explored additional structures at the site and noted Mother Nature’s astounding achievement in creating a steer’s head sculpted out of wood.

Lunch called, so we drove further up the road and stopped at the imposing ruins of the Jumbo Mill, the stand-out attraction of which looked like the most giant bingo ball thing in existence.

The second half of the day offered members the choice to head down to Breckenridge for self-guided tours or continue ghost towning in the high country above. Josh led the latter group to the sparse remains of Larium, which held the ruins of a mill and boarding house, a bathtub, a quasi-restored log cabin, and an outhouse notable for being uphill of the residence and boasting a Dutch door entry and windows in its sides.

The proceeding hike brought us past some unusual remains—prospect holes and workings that seemed quite elaborate for dubious returns. Discussion about possible salting of the claim and “giving the shaft” to some unfortunate ensued, which proved a sobering reminder that a gold mine can well be a hole in the ground with a liar at the top.

And the sky wept.

On arrival at the mystery townsite, we were treated to multiple buildings (some under roof) situated along parallel upper and lower streets. As is his custom and forte, Josh pointed out architectural clues that assisted with the interpretation of the site. Interesting remains strewn about in a dump offered additional insights into the years when the camp was likely active (and for how long). Further on, we came across two structures that bore the scars of questionable improvements and expansion by 20th-century residents.

At the far end of the camp, the colossal wreck of the Mountain Pride mill beckoned, inviting exploration and again inspiring wonder at the accomplishments of a generation a century and a half removed. Continuing on, we arrived at our final stop: a spectacular one-and-a-half-story livery hidden in the trees beyond the mill.

All in all, it was yet another great, well-planned, and highly informative field trip researched and led by Josh Robinson. If you have not been on a Josh trip, you’ve been missing out.

GTC Members

If you are planning a field trip, be sure and clear the date with the Vice President before making your final plans or reservations. Others may be planning trips at the same time and this will avoid conflicts.

Are you interesting in leading a field trip but don’t know where to start?  The GTC Steering Committee created this handy book: How to Plan and Lead a Field Trip

Are you interested in collecting data, and documenting existing structures?  The GTC Steering Committee created this book handy book: How to Document Existing Buildings

If you have additional questions, please contact us.

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