Take a Day Trip From the Frisco Lodge: Idaho Springs

Posted by: admin December 29th, 2015


Founded in 1859 during the early days of the Pike’s Peak Gold Rush, Idaho Springs is a quick 40-minute drive from our Frisco hotel and offers a plethora of things to do in this historical mining town. Shopping, restaurants, breweries, mine tours, scenic drives, hot springs, museums & historical sites and outdoor recreational opportunities are just a few of the things that Idaho Springs has to offer. So, if you want to take the day and experience something different than Frisco and Summit County, Idaho Springs – Where the Old West Meets New Adventure – makes for a great day trip.

Shopping & Dining

Even though Summit County offers plenty of shopping and dining opportunities, you may want to try something different and visit the downtown historic district on Miner Street for a unique shopping experience that will take you back to the early days of Colorado and the West. Idaho Springs also has a variety of dining options to please just about any kind of eater. For those that want to try an authentic Colorado brew, Tommyknockers Brewery and West Bound and Down Brewery both serve up their own craft beers to wet your whistle.

Mine Tours

Argo-Gold-Mine-Idaho-Springs-COIdaho Springs was the place where the first substantial gold discovery was made in Colorado, so naturally a mine tour might be a great activity for those history buffs. The Phoenix Gold Mine, just outside of Idaho Springs at 8,200 feet above sea level, offers mine tours and gold panning in its three levels going to a depth of 500 feet. During your tour you will view historical artifacts from the 1871 mining days and will even be able to try your hand at mining for gold afterwards.

The Argo Tunnel, a 4.16-mile drainage and access tunnel, offers visitors tours of the gold ore mill and adjacent gold mine. Your tour begins in Argotown with a history lesson before you receive a live demonstration of the crushing, milling and rock drilling. After touring the mine, you will walk down through the mill and view what the miners used at the turn of the century. Just like at the Phoenix, you will then have the opportunity to try their luck with panning for gold.

Scenic Drives

Yes, we know that you just drove there from the Frisco Lodge, but if you are still in the mood to stay in the car, there are a few noteworthy scenic drives that might pique your interest. The Mt. Evans Scenic Byway is the highest paved road in North American and stretches from Idaho Springs to the peak of Mt. Evans. This drive will afford you views of three separate ecosystems, ancient trees, lakes and forests as well as abundant chances for wildlife viewing.

Virginia Canyon Road, or “Oh My Gawd” Road, is just how it sounds. A dirt road that runs from Idaho Springs to Central City, this road is narrow in spots for only a single vehicle and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and canyons that will leave you saying “Oh My Gawd.”

Indian Hot Springs

Indian-Hot-SpringsNative Americans, including a tribe who journeyed here each year from Idaho (hence the city’s name), considered the springs to have healing properties. The pure mineral water of the historic Indian Hot Springs flows at 125 degrees and dumps directly into pools and baths for you to enjoy. In addition to enjoying the springs, they offer a variety of spa services to complete your unforgettable experience.  

Museums & Historical Sites

Since mining was largely responsible for the creation and growth of Idaho Springs, the city appropriately strives to preserve and celebrate that heritage. With that being said, there are a multitude of museums and historical sites to visit for those interested in finding out more about this famed city.

In terms of museums, the Heritage Museum & Visitor Center exhibits a plethora of artifacts from the gold rush that ultimately transformed the valley from the 1860s to the 1940s. The museum is also full of exhibits of the town’s mining history, early life and the role it played in shaping the state of Colorado. The Underhill Museum offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like in the early 1900s with its exhibits and displays.

Historical sites are a plenty in Idaho Springs, but the Log Building (a former mining building), the Powder House, Engine #60 and Coach #70, the Bryan Hose House, the Charlie Tayler Waterwheel and the Pioneer Cemetery are some must hits on your list.

Outdoor Recreation

Idaho-Springs-RaftingNo matter the season, Idaho Springs has a little something for everyone to get outside and enjoy. During the winter months, Loveland Ski Area is just 30 minutes from downtown Idaho Springs, while Echo Mountain Resort is just down the road located west of Evergreen.

If the warmer weather is your thing, you’re in luck as Idaho Springs is a summer paradise. With hundreds of hiking trails, some of the finest road and mountain biking in the country, numerous whitewater rafting opportunities in Clear Creek Canyon, world class fishing, ziplining, rock climbing and horseback riding, you will never be short of things to do.


So, as you can see, Idaho Springs – just a short drive from our Frisco bed & breakfast – is a mecca for getting your Colorado “fix.” No matter your passion, a day trip to the city “Where the Gold Rush Began” will afford an opportunity for everyone to find something to sink their teeth into.

Images courtesy of Mille Fiori Favoriti, westernmininghistory.com, indianhotsprings.com, Clear Creek Rafting Company