Ghost towns and ghosts in Ouray
Are there ghost towns in Ouray? This is one of our favorite questions, especially this time of the year when ghosts and ghostly events are at the top of everyone’s mind. The answer of course is yes. We have lots of ghost towns and lots of ghosts and lots of ghost stories in Ouray. More than enough to keep everyone happy (or spooked). Ghost towns are all around us here in Ouray, ranging from close in and easily accessible to those so remote that only the hardiest of 4-wheelers can get there.
The most interesting and least known of these remote sites in the Carson City mine, located 4 miles off the Alpine Loop at 12,000 feet. For those who can reach it, there are spectacular views and intact buildings that give the best glimpse of what life must have been like for the hardy men and women who lived here, trying to wrench a living or perhaps a fortune from the unforgiving earth.
For those not so excited about long and difficult 4 wheeling trips, there are many easily accessible sites like the Camp Bird, Red Mountain Town, and Ironton. Tom Walsh’s legendary Camp Bird Mine was home to one of the richest mines ever found. Over $26,000,000 worth of gold was found at the site. Similarly, the mines of Red Mountain Town made millions for their owner’s from the gold, silver, and other metals that were mined into the early years of the 20th century. Wherever you find the remains of the mining camp, it is not the buildings that make it a ghost town, it is the memory of those who lived and worked there that make it so. We love to sit on the threshold of a long abandoned building and imagine how many people crossed this way a century ago. How many children played in the street in front of us? We try to hear their calls and laughter. What kind of celebrations took place in the saloon that once stood next door? Can you feel the floor shake from the fiddle that played on a Saturday night after the end of a long backbreaking week of working underground in dark and dangerous tunnels? That is when the ghost towns come to life and take you back to a time when the San Juan Mountain high country was home only to the hardiest and most determined of folk.
Meanwhile in Ouray, supply town to the region, ghosts of a different sort are common. Ouray was the winter home for many miners, the place where they came for food, tools, repairs, and to assay their finds. It is said that many did not leave here when their time on earth ended. Does the ghost of the Beaumont waitress said to be murdered by the cook still roam the hotel halls at night? Is there still a soul or two wandering around the old hospital (now fittingly the Historical Museum)? What about the ghost cat in the cemetery north of town or the unexplained resident in the Courthouse? Lots of reported ghosts here in town and ghost towns in the high country so pack your bags and plan to come see for yourself.
Are there ghosts in Ouray? You decide. Let us help you plan your ghostly expedition. Give us a call or go on line to reserve your room and we will set you on the ghostly trail. Or just come for the pleasure of being in Ouray.