Pitkin / Ohio City / Tin Cup

At an elevation of 9,242 feet, 28 miles northeast of Gunnison on the Quartz Creek, lies Pitkin, an 1880s mining town. Originally named Quartzville, after Quartz Creek which winds its way through the center of town, Pitkin was Colorado’s first mining camp west of the Continental Divide.

The town, which is situated on an alpine meadow one mile long and one quarter mile wide, was incorporated on August 11, 1879, when it was renamed Pitkin after Governor Frederick W. Pitkin. Continuous discovery of mines in the vicinity brought Pitkin to life and sustained it for many years. Today, a visit provides a real taste of the mining history of the area. Enjoy historic Victorian and Georgian architecture, with many of the original buildings still standing and in good repair.

Follow Quartz Creek along County Road 76 to Ohio City, traveling the scenic route of the old Denver & South Park Railroad line. Few mining towns had more demises and re-births than did Ohio City. Gold gave the town its start in the early 1860s and shut it down when the placer gold ran out. The silver boom of 1879 brought miners back until 1893 when the boom collapsed—and so did the town. In 1896, prospectors found the lode that was the source for the nuggets found in the '60s and Ohio City was again re-born. Mining operations continued until about 1916.

Continue on County Road 765 (Cumberland Pass) in the non-winter months to the “wicked little town” of Tin Cup and learn about the colorful history of another great Western mining town. Books and information can be found at the General Store.