Latitude / Longitude:
39°34′53″N 105°52′4″W / 39.58139°N 105.86778°W / 39.58139
10,312 ft (3,143 m)
Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
The Town of Montezuma is a Statutory Town located in eastern Summit County, Colorado, United States. The town population was 65 at 2010 United States Census. The town is a former mining camp that sits at an elevation of 10,200 feet (3,110 m), just west of the Continental Divide, nestled among mountains that reach an elevation of 12,000-13,000 feet (3,700-4,000 m) around it. It is situated in the upper valley of the Snake River above the ski resort of Keystone in the Rocky Mountains.
The town, which is named for Montezuma, the Emperor of the Aztecs, consists largely of historical buildings and houses lining unpaved streets at the end of the paved county road that ascends the Snake River from Keystone near the west side of Loveland Pass. The town sits in a high steep valley surrounded by forested peaks offering good access to higher national forest land destinations. The paved road up from Keystone leads mainly through national forest right up to the entrance of town, which is marked by a sign over the county road.
The town retains many older structures, some of them dating from the late 19th century, such as the picturesque school house dating from the 1880s, now a State of Colorado Historical Site. The town is often included in lists of ghost towns in the Colorado Rockies, but it nevertheless retains a small population of full-time residents, as well as many absentee homeowners. From 2004 until 2009, a small low-powered FM station (KMZM 96.5 then 96.7), which was receivable only near and in the town, operated from one of the houses.
Montezuma has some of the most popular backcountry skiing, biking, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and hiking trails in Summit County. Montezuma is listed as one of Colorado’s top scenic places in John Fielder’s Best of Colorado. The town founded in 1865 following the discovery of silver in the vicinity of nearby Argentine Pass. It was populated by prospectors coming over the passes from nearby Georgetown. The town was incorporated in 1881. A local newspaper, the Montezuma Mill Run, began publishing in 1882. In its inaugural issue, the Mill Run described the town as having two hotels, three stores, three saloons, two blacksmiths, one shoemaker, and a number of restaurants and boarding houses.