Idaho Springs, Colorado

Gold, Hot Springs, and Discovery

In January of 1859, George Andrew Jackson and Tom Golden were exploring the area now known as Clear Creek County. Tom Golden went on to establish the town of Golden, Colorado. But George Jackson decided to continue exploring.



historic photo of Idaho Springs

Rich in History

In his explorations, Jackson discovered a bluish mist from a nearby canyon. Jackson found hundreds of mountain sheep grazing on green grass – a result of the warm vapors from the hot springs nearby. He set up camp, and the next morning built a fire on a sandbar on Chicago Creek. Jackson used his coffee cup to pan the sand and found nine dollars worth of gold. He marked the spot and returned to tell his friend Tom. A few months later he came back with 22 miners and they discovered $1,900 of gold within the first seven days (Today, equivalent to one million dollars).

Once Named Jackson’s Diggings

The area has had many names, such as Jackson’s Diggings and Sacramento City, but it was finally named Idaho Springs. In June of 1859, the area was formally organized, the first recorded in Colorado history. 400 people lived in the settlement at that time. Between 1870 and 1900 many homes and businesses were established. Nothing is more iconic in this town than the mineral Indian Hot Springs. Miners and other townsfolk would often bathe in its healing waters.

By the late 1930’s, Highway 40 was constructed. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Interstate 70 was built and again changed the landscape. The town became more accessible to both residents and tourists.


Indian Hot Springs

Today, Idaho Springs has so much to offer

Today, Idaho Springs has so much to offer. The stunning Charlie Tayler Waterwheel, Mount Evans Scenic and Historic Byway, and the Idaho Mall are great places to explore. Idaho Springs is also home to the Argo Mill and Tunnel, the Phoenix Gold Mine, and the Colorado School of Mines’ Edgar Mine. From past to present there is so much to enjoy in this town.


The Argo Mill & Tunnel built into a sheer cliff face