Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, U.S. Forest Service-Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland is temporarily closing all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties. The decision to be re-evaluated daily. SEE CLOSURE ORDER
Santiago Mine is a nearly 100-year-old site that contains one of the best-preserved mines in the area. The mine was opened in 1935 and many of its features remain in remarkable condition today. The USFS was able to get the site declared historical in 2013. Prior to that, it had been for sale for a cool $33,000,000. After the Forest Service turned it into a historical site, they announced temporary closure and clean up of the site. While that information has been hard to come by through official sources, this is the last update from the Forest Service was the closure announcement in 2015. At that time, the Forest Service indicated that the site may be preserved further and turned into an official historical site that people can visit without causing damage to the site. Though information has been hard to come by officially, this is what we know about the restoration process at the mine from sources on the ground and the contractor's website.
Lead and other dangerous mineral remediation was completed in the summer of 2016. This summer they are working on filling in the soil, directing water runoff, and revegetation. How and when the work will be complete is unknown at this time. Trailsoffroad has not been able to find out if there are official plans for this site once the cleanup was done. We will be keeping a close eye on the progress and in touch with Clear Creek County about the progress and plans for this site and report them here.
This trail is still worth running out and back. The views of the valley are great, you can even see the snow-crushed remains of a pickup truck and the over 100-year-old telephone lines that carried some of the first intercontinental phone calls. At its peak, this phone lines carried a whole six telephone lines.
Enjoy the trail and do not trespass at the mine but feel free to admire it from afar.
Head south and follow the signs for Guanella Pass. Follow Guanella Pass up a few switchbacks and you will see the entrance to Leavenworth Creek Road on the right. Follow the McClellan Mountain (FS 248.1) track to waypoint 12 of McClellan Mountain (FS 248.1). The trailhead is on the left (southwest).
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (Oct. 20, 2020) – Due to unprecedented and historic fire conditions, the USDA Forest Service’s Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests is announcing a temporary closure of all National Forest land in Clear Creek, Jefferson, Gilpin, Boulder, and Larimer counties, effective at midnight tonight (closure begins at 00:01 Oct. 21). This decision will be re-evaluated daily as conditions change.
Definitely add this to your day if you go check out Argentine. The history is so cool behind it! They have recently put up quite a bit of fencing to protect this area. Please respect all fencing and signage you see so others can enjoy this special area for years to come. This was open all the way to the mine.
Trail is still open to the mine/mill itself but the area remains off-limits. Questions have been submitted to numerous groups to determine when the work might be done and this area will reopen. Watch here for more.
This trip was made just before the closure of the site in July of 2015 and are the last photos we have of the mine prior to the work being done there. Please enjoy these photos, but remember not to go onto the historical site until it is reopened.
Jen & JD moved to Colorado from Chicago in May of 2015 for work and brought with them a 2001 stock Jeep Wrangler that had been garage bound for two years. Within a month of arrival, all rusty 170,000 miles of it was shaking on Colorado trails and they've never stopped. As time as gone on, their 2001 TJ had to be traded and a 2015 Jeep JK has been added to the family.
JD works as a Systems Engineer for a cable company and Jen runs a business from their home during the week to pay the bills. When the weekend hits, they're almost always hitting the trail. When Sunday night rolls around, the question turns to, 'so what's next week?!'.