Saturday, April 9, 2011

Battle Mountain Trail

Distance: 1 mile round trip
Elevation: 9,800 ft - 10,000 ft
Elevation Gain: 200 ft
Dogs: Off Leash

Looking up at the Independence Mine headframe from the parking lot

The area around Cripple Creek and Victor Colorado is filled with mining history and short trails you can take the family on. I road tripped to this area a few weeks ago as a way to get out without having to hike very far. I am recovering from an injury or at least trying to. We did the Vindicator Valley Loop, which is a mecca for history buffs, as well as Battle Mountain.

The rock sorter under the canopy

Heading west on the well manicure rail bed

Battle Mountain is a short trail up to a skyscraper-like headframe of the Independence Gold Mine. Under a canopy is a rusted pipe filled with holes of many sizes. This remnant was part of a system that sorted rocks into various bins for crushing and gold extraction. A small informative display explains the process.

Looking back on the headframe

Just beyond the canopy there is a metal bridge over a mine shaft that seems to disappear into the very center of the Earth. Even though it is covered in a metal mesh to protect the tourists, the shaft has an ominous feel. Its looming darkness and jagged edges is surely the denizen of some primeval monster, a destroyer of worlds. Perhaps it was just the wind moaning in the headframe but the shattered mania of gold fever still echoed from the deep, a destroyer indeed.

The town of Victor. You can just see the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance.

Beyond the bridge a well manicured path follows an old railroad grade to a view of the Portland and Cresson Mines amidst a pile of yellow debris. From this point there is a nice view of Victor itself and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains beyond.

Looking up at the Portland Mine. This viewpoint is pretty much the end of the trail.

I would not drive all the way from Denver to Victor for this trail, but combined with other trails or adventures in the area, it is a worthwhile destination.

From the parking lot you can see Pikes Peak and the main ruin at the start of the Vindicator Valley Loop

1 comment:

PurestGreen said...

You really do have the most remarkable blue skies there. Wow. That rock sorter looks like something from a futuristic movie set. Or an angry kaleidoscope - I can't decide. I do love old mining towns. :)