Archer's Poudre River Resort
fall

GOLD MINES AND PROSPECTING

   Colorado is known historically as a mining state and naturally attracts prospectors on vacation to try their luck, possibly to find a nugget or a little color in their pan. Problem is once you're here it takes more time to research where and if you can prospect than you intended to spend prospecting. Our research should give you some insight as to past experiences and hopefully lead you in the right direction in YOUR quest for the GOLD.

   Colorado is known as the Silver State, but it also ranks second among the gold producing states. Over 40 million ounces of gold have been produced in Colorado. Most of the gold mines are in the mountainous western half of the state. The most important sources of gold are from Telluride type ores. For more information contact Colorado Division of Mines or the Colorado School of mines.

   Generally speaking, streams that are most likely to contain gold must have four characteristics.

1. They should be unregulated (not dammed).
2. They should be in a mineral rich area
3. They should fall through enough elevation to cause sufficient churning in the spring flood
4. Stream path and rock formations facilitate the deposition of the dense materials (gold, lead, iron, mercury etc.)

Manhattan (Poudre Canyon Gold Rush Town about 6 miles North of Archer’s Poudre River Resort)

   In early summer 1886 when a mud-clad stagecoach pulled into a mining camp thirty miles west of Fort Collins and a group of treasure seeking miners got off. Surrounding the greenhorns stood a newly constructed town that bore nothing remarkable. The unimproved main street lay on a steep grade, and buildings, which looked as if they had gone up over night, were not more than log shacks. Nevertheless, an exciting frenzy in the air distracted the new arrivals from the dingy appearance of the little hamlet, and their burning desire for riches soon melted into the eagerness of the town.

   Manhattan, a town carved out of the Rocky Mountain wilderness a year earlier when gold was discovered nearby, had been the target of these fortune pursuers. Like previous gold rushes that spawned the creation of other mining towns, news of the discovery of the enticing yellow rock here had spread quickly.

A hotel, saloon, post office, school, stage line, and other entities associated with mining soon sprang up in the fledgling town. Transportation from Denver cost an eager miner less than four dollars, and lodging in the town was about one dollar a night for those not wanting to brave the harsh, sometimes deadly mountain atmosphere. Several hundred claims, mines, and prospects eventually littered the mining district.

   The Manhattan Prospector, a meek newspaper published in 1887, said that Manhattan would likely attract 5,000 people to its gold-laden hills. Unfortunately, a railroad never traversed the Poudre Canyon or came anywhere near Manhattan. Therefore, the cost of transporting heavy ore by alternative means offset profits from the mines that were prosperous. In other cases, golden ore was of low quality or ran out all together. The predicted population fell short by about 4,700 people.

   Manhattan had been long abandoned by the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Core got there, though its derelict buildings still stood as a reminder of humankind's obsession with golden bonanzas. The federal government saw fit to demolish the ghost city then, citing it as a hazard. In doing so, the last physical remains of one of Larimer County's greatest mining towns vanished forever. Today, scattered mines and a lonely cemetery on a nearby hill are the only traces from this former mining district. Like in so many other mining camps, the graves in the cemetery serve as mute testament to the miners' ambitions that culminated here and ultimately ended in disappointment.

   To get there: Two-wheel-drive vehicles can easily reach the Manhattan ghost site and mining district in the warmer months of the year. Vehicles with higher clearance and four-wheel drive may be required for exploration of some back roads. To get there take State Highway 14 west from Fort Collins through the Poudre Canyon for about twenty-five miles. Two miles east of Archer’s Poudre River Resort at Rustic, turn north toward Red Feather Lakes on 69 RD. After three miles, turn left at 162 RD and continue for another mile west. Manhattan lies at the point where the road abruptly turns right and a smaller road forks left, following a creek. The cemetery, sitting atop a hill, is just before this point on the north side of the road.

   Modern day prospectors report that west of Fort Collins at Manhattan, on a steep road about 4 miles north off of Route 14 there are some placer gold deposits in the gulches. This is evidence supporting the fact that there is GOLD IN THEM THAR HILLS

   Between Seven Mile Trail and Elkhorn Creek would probably be the best place to start your prospecting today and then branching out towards old Manhattan. It is located 2.5 miles north of the Cache la Poudre River

   Plan your Summer Gold Prospecting Adventure by calling Archer’s Poudre River Resort