Fun Things to Do Just 20 Miles West of Denver
Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains, offering endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, delicious dining, unique shopping, and history that goes clear back to the Colorado Gold Rush.
Come see why our historic mountain communities of Idaho Springs, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume offer you an authentic mountain charm that you can’t find anywhere else.
One thing is certain; the adventure begins the moment you arrive!
1. Ride the Rapids
Clear Creek is the 2nd most rafted river in Colorado, and for good reason. With more rapids per mile than any other river in the state, Clear Creek offers both beginner rapids and world-class expert rafting just outside of Denver.
Also, be sure to check out our Lawson White Water Park for recreational canoeing and kayaking.
2. Touch the Clouds
Clear Creek County is home to four 14,000’ peaks to challenge your lungs and legs. Mt. Bierstadt (14,060’) is the perfect choice for your first ascent with easy access from Guanella Pass.
If you are looking for more of a challenge, the iconic pair of Grays Peak (14,270’) and Torreys Peak (14,267’) offer the opportunity to bag two peaks on the same trip. Mount Evans (14,264’) is home to the highest paved road in the northern hemisphere which is open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, weather permitting. Weekend usage is very heavy so plan your trip accordingly and arrive early!
3. Feel the Wind
4. Explore the Terrain
As Denver’s gateway to the Rocky Mountains, Clear Creek County offers endless opportunities to explore the Roosevelt and Arapaho National Forests. Drive one of our two Scenic Byways: Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, or the highest paved road in the northern hemisphere – Mount Evans Scenic Byway. Watch for wildlife along the way.
Explore endless recreational opportunities with our new trails map featuring 37 trails across the County. Whether you are looking to go off-road on an ATV Tour or 4-wheel drive trail, climb a 14er, mountain bike, or simply take a hike our trails will give you the opportunity to explore beautiful open lands. Stay overnight at a local campground where you will camp under the stars and get in touch with nature, and don’t forget your fishing pole and propane grill!
5. Ride the Train
The Georgetown Loop Railroad® was one of Colorado’s first visitor attractions that was completed in 1884. This spectacular stretch of three-foot narrow gauge railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time. Today, adults and children of all ages are able to enjoy train rides aboard a diesel or steam powered locomotive. There are also special event trains, as well as two optional silver mine tours, and even an opportunity to pan for gold!
6. Take a Tour
Colorado’s gold rush began in Idaho Springs in 1859 when George Andrew Jackson discovered gold at the confluence of Chicago Creek and Clear Creek. Soon after the discovery, 50,000 miners flocked to Clear Creek County in search of fortune and the population skyrocketed. Gold still lures visitors to Clear Creek County and you too can take a walk back in time, learn about the mining lifestyle that defined our County by taking a gold or silver mine tour and try your hand at panning for gold!
Don’t forget to visit the historical sites and museums throughout the County as well to learn more about George Andrew Jackson, the Colorado Gold Rush, and the silver mining boom!
7. Relax and Unwind…
Soak your cares away in our historic hot springs, enjoy a day at the spa, take a scenic horseback ride, tour a local brewery, or simply spend the day visiting our unique shops and finish by enjoying one of our many unique dining experiences. Don’t forget Clear Creek County has boutique lodging and accommodations for weekend getaways or extended trips!
No matter what you decide, we hope that Clear Creek County will be part of your wonderful memories for years to come!
Explore Other Mountain Activities in Clear Creek
Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Located just west of Denver along Interstate 70, Clear Creek has 396 square miles of public lands to explore, as well as four mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. Clear Creek is comprised of charming mountains towns Idaho Springs, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume, which are all along the I-70 corridor. Learn more about Clear Creek County here.