Discovering Colorado’s Best Preserved Ghost Town: Saint Elmo

Nestled in the picturesque mountains of Colorado, Saint Elmo is a ghost town that offers visitors a window into the past and a chance to experience some of the state’s natural beauty. With its well-preserved buildings, including a merchantile, saloon, county courthouse/jail, and private homes, Saint Elmo has been deemed Colorado’s Best Preserved Ghost Town.

Saint Elmo offers a unique opportunity to delve into the area’s rich history while enjoying a range of outdoor activities for those looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Visitors to Saint Elmo can feed the resident chipmunks, go rock hounding for quartz and aquamarine, and explore 4-wheel drive trails.

Additionally, the town offers camping and upper-mountain fishing, making it a versatile destination for outdoor enthusiasts. In this article, we’ll delve into the rich history and attractions of Saint Elmo, exploring why it has become a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Colorado’s past.

From its remote location to its well-preserved buildings, Saint Elmo offers a glimpse into the past and a chance to experience the beauty of the Colorado mountains.

Key Takeaways

  • Saint Elmo is a ghost town located in Colorado, which can be reached by taking Highway 24 to County Road 162 and following it for 19 miles.
  • Despite having only 8 year-round residents, Saint Elmo was once a thriving town with a population of over 2000 people.
  • Saint Elmo offers a variety of attractions for visitors, including 4-wheel drive trails, rock hounding, camping, upper-mountain fishing, and feeding resident chipmunks at Chipmunk Crossing.
  • Saint Elmo is unique among smaller ghost towns because its buildings are preserved, not restored, and has been labeled as Colorado’s Best Preserved Ghost Town.

Location and Access

Situated west of Buena Vista, Colorado, Saint Elmo boasts of being Colorado’s Best Preserved Ghost Town. It can be conveniently accessed by taking Highway 24 to County Road 162 and following it for 19 miles. The route to the ghost town is scenic and offers stunning views of the Collegiate Peaks and the Chalk Cliffs. Visitors can drive to Saint Elmo in any vehicle, but using a four-wheel drive vehicle during winter when the roads are icy or covered in snow is advisable. Additionally, visitors should be cautious while driving on the narrow, winding roads leading to the town.

There are nearby accommodations for visitors who want to spend more time in the area. Buena Vista, located about 20 miles from Saint Elmo, has several hotels and motels offering comfortable lodging options. For visitors who prefer camping, there are several campgrounds in the area, including the Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort, which offers campsites and cabins with stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Visitors can also opt to stay in one of the modern vacation homes in the surrounding area.

Attractions and Activities

Visitors to the area can enjoy various activities while in Saint Elmo. For those seeking adventure, several 4×4 trails offer a thrilling experience as they navigate through rocky terrain and steep inclines. Rock hounding is also popular in the area, with quartz and aquamarine being the most sought after gems. Upper-mountain fishing is another activity visitors can enjoy, with the nearby creeks and lakes offer a serene and picturesque setting.

For those seeking a more laid-back experience, feeding the resident chipmunks at Chipmunk Crossing is a must-do activity. Visitors can purchase bags of sunflower seeds for only 50 cents at the general store and enjoy the playful antics of these furry little creatures.

Whether seeking adventure or relaxation, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Saint Elmo.

History and Preservation

The history and preservation of Saint Elmo are remarkable, with original buildings that are well-preserved and privately owned. The town’s buildings, including a merchantile, saloon, county courthouse/jail, and private homes, are labeled and show dates built. Saint Elmo is unique among smaller ghost towns because its buildings are preserved, not restored, making it Colorado’s Best Preserved Ghost Town.

Preservation methods in Saint Elmo ensure that the town’s buildings remain intact and retain their character. The town was initially of high moral character but later took on the trappings of a single male population with saloons and bawdy houses. The evolution of the town’s character, from a small, upstanding community to a rougher and more wild place, is evident in its preserved buildings.

Today, Saint Elmo is a testament to Colorado’s history and a fascinating destination for visitors interested in the state’s past.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any legends or ghost stories associated with Saint Elmo?

Saint Elmo has no documented haunted tales or supernatural encounters. However, local folklore and paranormal investigations suggest that the town may have a ghost or two lurking in the shadows.

What is the elevation of Saint Elmo?

Saint Elmo, a ghost town in Colorado, has a high altitude of 10,000 feet and is surrounded by scenic beauty. It offers outdoor activities such as hiking trails and camping, as well as historic buildings and rock hounding opportunities.

Has Saint Elmo been featured in any movies or TV shows?

Saint Elmo has not been featured in any major movies or TV shows but has attracted famous visitors such as John Wayne and Johnny Depp. Despite its lack of Hollywood fame, the town remains a popular tourist destination for its historic buildings and outdoor activities.

Are there any notable residents or historical figures associated with Saint Elmo?

Notable residents or historical figures associated with Saint Elmo are not mentioned in available sources. However, the town has local folklore and haunted tales, adding to its charm as a well-preserved ghost town with 24 original buildings and a resident population of 8.

Are there any annual events or festivals held in Saint Elmo?

Saint Elmo does not have any annual events or festivals. However, the town’s history, significance, and tourist attractions and activities make it a popular destination for visitors seeking a glimpse into Colorado’s past.

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