When you buy a home for sale in Aspen or one of its nearby communities, you’re in the heart of it all – you have skiing, beautiful lakes and hiking trails, and a thriving entertainment scene, as well as great restaurants and shopping experiences. Even better, there are dozens of spectacular places to see within a short drive. Check out these three amazing springtime day trips from Aspen to start exploring everything Colorado has to offer.
3 Quirky Springtime Day Trips From Aspen
Ready to get to know Colorado through a few off-the-beaten-path spots that most people don’t know about? Here are three great places to visit this spring:
- Rulison Nuclear Test Site
- Vulcan Mine
Here’s a closer look at each.
Climax, Colorado used to be the highest human settlement in the Rockies. With an elevation of 11,360 feet, Climax is now an abandoned shell of a mining town where, for several decades, was the leading source of the world’s molybdenum. In 1965, all the town’s residential homes were moved to Leadville – just a few miles away. The whole operation shut down in 1995 and then reopened again in 2012, but nobody moved back to the town. There’s an old town site with mining relics and some interactive exhibits at the top of Fremont Pass, and you can take some great photos of the area there. (If you’re already out there, check out the Camp Hale Ruins, Leadville’s abandoned silver mine and the National Mining Hall of Fame Museum; they’re all within a 10-mile radius of Climax.)
Map it here.
Related: Popular spots around Aspen that are open for visitors
Rulison Nuclear Test Site
The Rulison Nuclear Test Site is where the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission detonated a 40-kiloton nuclear bomb about 8,400 feet underground, beneath a rural community, in 1969. The commission did it to test whether it was okay to mine for natural gas by dropping nukes – nobody really thought much about the radiation, though; although the nuclear bomb did release a lot of natural gas that was previously trapped underground, all the gas was irradiated and therefore unusable. There isn’t a lot to see there now (other than a plaque, a concrete pad over the site, and a sign that warns you of potential radiation danger), but the drive is scenic and beautiful.
Map it here.
Perhaps one of the most interesting mine sites in Colorado, if only for what’s happening beneath the ground, the Vulcan Mine has at least 25 underground fires that have been burning since 1896 – much like the mine in the movie Silent Hill (which was based loosely on a similar mine in Pennsylvania). Despite the fires and a pair of catastrophic explosions – two of the ten worst mining disasters in Colorado history – the mine remained open for years. Today, the slopes on High Horse Mountain, where the mine’s tunnels wind deep underground, are completely barren because the fires burn so hot beneath the surface. In winter, the snow melts faster from the slopes than it does elsewhere, and when it’s cool outside you can often see steam and smoke rising from the ground.
Map it here.
Related: How to get your house ready to sell in 30 days
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