Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
Yes
ADA accessible
Yes
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

St. Elmo calls itself “Colorado’s best-preserved ghost town.” While that may be true, St. Elmo really is a strange hybrid between a mecca for off-road vehicle enthusiasts and a ghost town in transition.

There are several old buildings in St. Elmo, all privately-owned, and they offer the skeleton of the original town. The setting is spectacular; the town is deep in the valley between Mount Princeton and Mount Antero with the Continental Divide behind. Aspens dominate the hillsides. There are significant ongoing projects to restore and preserve the old buildings and sidewalks, and construction is a constant companion here. There are a few small lodging options, a general store, and an antique “yard.” A few people reside here at least in summer, so it is not a ghost town strictly speaking. Add to that the popularity with general tourists and off-road vehicle riders, and the town can be very busy.

That being said, it is really worthwhile to stroll down the main street and take in all the old buildings--much of the town is closed to cars. At the end of Main Street, keep going as the road turns into a trail and loops back above the town through the woods. This walk is beautiful, and almost no one takes it. For a more challenging hike, the trail up Poplar Gulch is beautiful in the fall, or any time really, and it can be followed for a dozen miles.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Fall
Spring

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Pros

Interesting and well-preserved historic site. Beautiful scenery. Nearby hiking.

Cons

Popular and crowded. ATV staging area.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Features

ADA accessible
Family friendly
Vault toilet
Potable water
Picnic tables
Historically significant
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado
Grand Mesa Uncompahgre + Gunnison National Forests
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado
Grand Mesa Uncompahgre + Gunnison National Forests
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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