Idaho Springs is a popular stop for those traveling on I-70, to and from the mountains. Though the town is known for its hot springs, Idaho Springs has a lot more to offer adventure seekers.
Rafting is one of the top summer sports available in town. Clear Creek runs right through town and offers some fierce class IV and V rapids, as well as great fishing. In the winter, skiing is close by at Loveland Ski Area. On the opposite side of Berthoud Pass, you’ll also find the popular resorts of Summit County and Winter Park.
The town resides at an elevation of 7,526 feet in Clear Creek County. In 2019 it reported a population of 1,858 residents. It features an ample downtown with a lot of shops and restaurants serving the I-70 travelers.
Idaho Springs has a similar history to most other towns in Colorado. It was originally a miner town that was established during the mid 19th century and later transformed into a tourist destination.
George Jackson struck gold right off the Clear Creek river in 1859, and soon enough a settlement formed in the area. Originally referred to as just “Idahoe”, the town eventually added Springs to the end as the hot springs grew in popularity.
The town was was incorporated years later in November of 1885. It was resilient even through the typical cyclical popularity of mining, and remains a quaint historic area today.
Clear Creek – This well-known river flows directly through town, providing great fishing access at a number of spots. It’s also one of the most popular commercially rafted rivers in Colorado.
- You can raft Clear Creek from mid-May through August.
- Depending on conditions and the section you raft, class II to V rapids can be found.
Historic District – Downtown Idaho Springs offers several stroll-able blocks lined with historic buildings. They house various shops and restaurants, with some lodging scattered around.
Indian Hot Springs – The springs have long been used for their therapeutic benefits. Unique to these hot springs are geothermal caves that were carved out in the early 1900s.
Mine Tours – As a former mining town, there are a couple of historic tours that operate year-round. Argo and Phoenix gold mines are the two most popular local tours.
Colorado Adventure Center – This center offers year round zip-lining on one of it’s 8 lines. They also have a rock climbing wall and a high ropes course for even more adventure.
Read about the top things to do in Idaho Springs.
Camping – Most of the closest camping is located south on CO 103 toward Mount Evans.
- Echo Lake Park has a national forest campground at the start of Mount Evans Byway. There are 18 sites that get heavy use. Take CO 103 south for 13 miles from town.
- West Chicago Creek is another campground located south on CO 103.
- Dispersed camping can be found on W. Chicago Creek Rd and Hefferman Gulch Rd, both located on CO 103 before Echo Lake.
- Read about the camping near Idaho Springs and Mount Evans.
- Clear Creek runs directly through town and provides excellent trout fishing.
- Echo Lake is open to fishing year-round.
Hiking – There are numerous nature trails around town.
- St. Mary’s Glacier is about 30 minutes from town and is popular in the summer and early fall. You have to pay for parking at the trailhead. Take the Fall River Road exit 238 a few miles west of town. Follow for 11 miles.
- Mt. Evans also has a lot of hiking trails if you head towards it. Take County Road 103 southwest from downtown Idaho Springs to access various trailheads within the Arapaho National Forest or Mount Evans Wilderness.
Snow sports – Echo Mountain is the closest ski area to Denver, and although it’s an intermediate mountain, there is still plenty for everyone to do. They have a large beginner’s area and a tubing hill.
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Lawson Adventure Park & Resort – Rent cabins, yurts or stay in a campsite at this resort. Lawson Adventure Park features a long range of mountain activities. Many are available right on the property, including zip lining, whitewater rafting, and snowshoeing.
The Silver Lake Lodge – This accommodation is the perfect combination of luxury and country retreat. Each uniquely themed suite has plush bedding and breathtaking views of the surrounding land.
Read about the best hotels in Idaho Springs.
Dining is catered towards the hoards of cars passing by on I-70 so there are plenty of choices.
Azteca Mexican – You’ll feel right at home at this family owned Mexican restaurant, it even has an outdoor patio to enjoy.
Beau Jo’s – A local favorite for after-ski grub, this restaurant features thick-crusted, Colorado-style pizza.
Tommyknocker Brewery – The original location of the iconic microbrewery, stop here if you’re craving an artfully brewed ale or lager.
May – Idaho Springs Farmer’s Market – Every Friday during the midday at Courtney-Ryley-Cooper Park you can find local vendors with fresh produce, baked goods, and more.
Jun – Clear Creek Rapidgrass Bluegrass Festival – Hosted by Rapidgrass as a fundraiser to further develop the town, this two day event is filled with local bluegrass performances.
Jul – 4th of July Celebration – Celebrate this special summer day with beer, fireworks, and local BBQ.
Aug – GlacierFest – One day event in mid-August filled with live entertainment against the beautiful mountain backdrop.
Aug – Grillin’ and Chillin’ – This festival features a chili cook-off, music performances, and games for the whole family.
Activities near Idaho Springs
- Coors Brewery Tour (24mi)
- Arapaho National Forest
- Clear Creek
- Echo Lake (13mi)
- Loch Lomond (15mi)
- Mount Evans
- Mount Evans Wilderness Area
- Chief Mountain Trail
- Mount Evans Trail
- St. Mary’s Glacier
Ice Skating/Ice Bumper Cars:
- Summit Lake Park (22mi)
- Georgetown Loop Railroad (12mi)
- Berthoud Pass (22mi)
- Guanella Pass (12mi)
- Jones Pass (22mi)
- Mount Evans Byway (14mi)
- Peak to Peak Byway (12mi)
- Mestaa’Ėhehe Pass (7mi)
- Arapahoe Basin Ski Area (31mi)
- Breckenridge Ski Resort (49mi)
- Copper Mountain Ski Resort (45mi)
- Echo Mountain Resort (11mi)
- Eldora Mountain Resort (34mi)
- Jones Pass Guides (22mi)
- Keystone Ski Resort (36mi)
- Loveland Ski Area (24mi)
- Winter Park Ski Resort (33mi)
- Echo Mountain Tubing Hill (11mi)
State Wildlife Areas:
- Mt Evans SWA (19mi)
- Black Hawk (12mi)
- Central City (11mi)
- Downieville (6mi)
- Dumont (5mi)
- Empire (9mi)
- Evergreen (15m)
- Georgetown (12mi)
- Golden (24mi)
- Lawson (7mi)
- St. Mary’s (12mi)
- Silverthorne (34mi)
- Silver Plume (14mi)
- Winter Park (34mi)
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