Photo: Michael Sinnwell
Unlike other ghost towns, Homestead Meadows one was not founded for mining. It was an area was used for farming and lumber. Several old buildings remain.
A hike is required to reach the town sites. The trail is well marked throughout the trek. Each different homestead is listed, with many trails managed by the Forest Service.
Homestead Meadows was a result of the Homestead Act of 1862 where a person could settle on 160 acres and after five years of improving the land, they would gain the title.
Both men and women staked claims. The first resident settled at Homestead Meadows in 1889. Men of Homestead Meadows often worked in nearby Lyons. They made the walk along the creek into town, and stayed for the work week while the women tended the land.
The town never even had a post office or school. It was just a collection of ranches. The last of the residents left in 1952.
The trail-head is at Lion Gulch 8 miles east of Estes Park on U.S. 36 in the Roosevelt National Forest. Hike 2.5 miles up the gulch to arrive at Homestead Meadows. There are several trails leading to six different homesteads.
Nearby Town: Estes Park