Explore Colorado / Explore The Outdoors

Fall Gold Mine in Aspen Alley

The Colorado mountain town of Breckenridge has a deep mining history.  Gold was found in the summer of 1859 and was just one of the metallics attracting those seeking to strike it rich.

This time of year you can hit gold on a fall foliage treasure hunt.  If your searching for a gold rush, head over to Aspen Alley.  To find the ribbons of gold, you simply have to drive up a little ways on Boreas Pass Road.  About a half mile up from the ice rink, you’ll likely notice some old mining equipment on the right hand side of the road.  That’s the Breckenridge Sawmill Museum.  Pull over into the old mining establishment of Wakefield for some of the best leaf peeping in Colorado.


Before hitting the trail, dig into a history lesson thanks to Breckenridge Heritage Alliance. Sawmills were critical to the growth of the American West.  Sawmills were portable mills.  It wasn’t feasible to transport logs from lumber camps to sawmills as in the Midwest and Southern United States in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Instead in the American West, it was more economical to take the sawmill to the trees.  As I learned about the anatomy of a portable sawmill while exploring the outdoors museum, I marveled in the idea of a crew of six to eight men could dismantle and reassemble a portable sawmill in about four days.  Make sure to grab one of the pamphlets to identify the different components of a sawmill marked by numbers in the Breckenridge Sawmill Museum.

As you head up the hill, Aspen Alley is a popular single track mountain biking trail and popular with hikers who hit the jackpot with this fall find.  I hit the trail with my friend Melissa and her Bernese Mountain Dog named Nora.  What we found was a roller coaster of a trail with easy ups and downs offering photo ops at every twist and turn.

As you hike up the trail, listen to the leaves quake as the golden aspens shimmer in the sunshine.

You’ll hike through tunnels of gold and enjoy spectacular views of Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Make sure to keep an eye out for remnants of Breckenridge’s rich mining past.

Whether hiking with your pooch, relishing in an adrenaline rush while maneuvering your bike, or clicking the shutter on your camera for the picture perfect shot, you’ll strike it rich in veins of golden aspens weaved into the pines.  You’ll “fall” in love with Breck as you explore Aspen Alley.


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