If you find yourself lucky enough to be in the magical mountain town of Crested Butte, a trip up to Angel Pass is highly recommended. You will get a taste of history as you hike up the old mining road surrounded by the majestic mountain ranges painted in red, tan, and green.
From the parking area you can either head up the Poverty Gulch road or ford across the mountain stream into Baxter Basin. If you choose to go up the road, follow it as it works its way up to the abandoned Augusta mine at 11,000 feet. This mine used to mainly produce copper and silver and now is completely closed.
Augusta Mine was just one of the many mines in the Poverty Gulch area that supplied the town of Pittsburg, founded in 1881. The avalanches and severe winter weather made it nearly impossible to transport the ore during the winter months. An aerial tram was built in the summer of 1886, but it was destroyed by avalanches by the winter of 1887. There was a revival in 1903, and new tunnels were added along with a compressor and a mill. The tram was rebuilt in 1908, and it ran nearly 4,000 feet to stretch from the Augusta Mine tunnel to the mill below. In the winter of 1909 an avalanche destroyed all of the Augusta Mine buildings, the tram, and the mill. This was the final blow for the mines, and the town of Pittsburg faded into history.
Just before the mine there is a trail that leads up the hill toward Angel Pass where you get an incredible 360-degree view of the surrounding mountain ranges including Dark Canyon, Marcellina Mountain, and the Beckwith Mountains off to the south on the other side of the pass. The trail is easy to lose when you approach the divide between Baxter Basin and Angel Pass, so be sure to use your GPS. Once you reach the ruins of an old mining cabin the trail splits. Down to the left the trail can be taken through Baxter Basin, making a loop to the parking area; alternately, take the trail up to the right (north) to reach Angel Pass to enjoy the breathtaking view.