Surrounded by the Gunnison National Forest, Pitkin is a quiet mountain town. There’s a main street and many historic buildings around town. It’s a semi ghost town, with not much open.
It’s accessible year round, but tourists mainly come in the summer. Snowmobilers use the area in the winter. Silver Plume General Store sells gas and has quick food like chili dogs, personal pan pizzas and ice cream.
Frenchy’s Cafe is a summer, log cabin restaurant, located 21 miles to the north in Tincup. This charming restaurant features burgers, sandwiches, homemade pies. There is also a small store/gift shop in Tincup open seasonally, Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Seasonal mountain lodging from open May to November can be found at the Quartz Creek Lodge.
It’s a former gold mining town that had a couple heydays and is now a sleepy mountain retreat for recreation. The town was noted to never be as rowdy and lawless as some other mining towns like Creede.
Alpine Tunnel – A 1,772 foot long narrow gauge railroad tunnel through the Continental Divide. It’s located thirty miles from town. The tunnel entrance is covered, but there is still a telegraph station there. Take Co Rd 765 2 miles to Alpine Tunnel Rd. Follow that for about twenty-eight miles.
The tunnel was completed in 1882 and closed in 1910 because it was such a pain to keep open in the winters at 11,523 feet. On the other side is the ghost town of Hancock (where workers of the tunnel had lived), which is five miles from St. Elmo.
Surrounded by national forest, camping, biking, OHV and Jeep driving are some of the main draws in summer. Winter is quiet with cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Downhill skiing can be found at Crested Butte on Monarch.
- Pitkin Campground is 1 mile from town. Take Co Rd 765 toward Tincup.
- Take Waunita Pass, suitable for 2WD which leads to secluded camping amongst picturesque aspens and evergreens. There is primitive car camping on the pass.
- There is a kid’s fishing pond right next to the Co Rd 765.
Things to do near Pitkin
- Waunita Hot Springs Ranch (11mi)
- Pitkin Museum
- Cumberland Pass (11mi)
- Tincup Pass 4×4
- Waunita Pass (5mi)
Uncovering Colorado’s Past: The Alpine Tunnel – Colorado’s rich history of the railroad system is made evident throughout many parts of the state. One of the more impressive historical displays of Colorado’s old rail system is the Alpine Tunnel. Located near Pitkin…