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Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, Idaho Springs is a charming town that offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation.
The former mining town is home to the ARGO Gold Mill, fishing, hiking, natural hot springs, and more.
It’s located inside the Mount Evans Wilderness and features picturesque Colorado scenery, white water rafting, and adventures for the whole family.
The Loveland Ski Area is nearby as is the lesser-known Echo Mountain Resort.
With its stunning natural beauty and rich history, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant community.
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, here are some of the top things to do in Idaho Springs in 2023.
1. Whitewater Rafting
Whitewater rafting is a popular summer activity in Idaho Springs. Even as a beginner, you’ll have a fun time whitewater rafting on Clear Creek.
It’s a suitable adventure for families with children as well as anyone who hasn’t tried rafting before.
You’ll experience the thrill of whitewater rafting in a safe and enjoyable way. An expert guide will be there providing navigation and commentary the whole way.
Upon arrival, you’ll meet your guides who will prepare you for the trip ahead. They’ll provide you with all the necessary equipment and a lesson on basic river safety.
This 3-hour rafting trip through Clear Creek Canyon includes all the equipment you need:
- Life vests
- Personal drybags
- Safety & training instructions
Once you’re ready, you’ll board the shuttle vehicle for a short ride to the creekside put-in. During your journey, you’ll enjoy several miles of family-friendly whitewater.
Once you’ve completed this Clear Creek rafting trip a shuttle will be waiting to take you back to the start (but not before celebrating with a group high five!).
2. Cliffside Ziplining
If you’ve never been ziplining off a cliffside, this is a must-try activity! Get ready to zoom through the treetops on ziplines, each with thrilling drops in the Rocky Mountains.
On this incredible adventure, you’ll explore the cliffside on six different ziplines. You’ll cross multiple suspended bridges as you make your way back down to our outpost.
You’ll even be able to use a dual race line that lets you challenge another member of your group!
To start the adventure, you’ll ride in a zip truck to the top of the cliffside, with incredible views of the Continental Divide.
From there, you’ll venture through the six-line course, equipped with suspended bridges, before ending on Line 6 over Chicago Creek.
After checking in, you’ll receive your zipline gear and a safety rundown. All of the necessary equipment is provided including a harness and helmet.
This zipline adventure takes place in an undeveloped mountain forest with big drops. It will make you feel like you’re a world away from the hustle and bustle of Denver.
This Cliffside Zipline course is nestled within the stunning Colorado Rockies. It’s located above the charming town of Idaho Springs and at the base of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.
3. ARGO Gold Mill & Mine
Idaho Springs has a rich mining history, and you can learn all about it by visiting the local mines.
The ARGO Gold Mine and Mill is a popular destination that offers tours of the mine and mill, as well as panning for gold.
This family-friendly tour of the ARGO Gold Mine is a great way to experience the excitement of the Rocky Mountain Gold Rush.
You’ll get a glimpse into the lives of the miners who worked here and learn about the processes used to extract gold from the mountains.
Join a professional guide who will take you on an interactive tour of the historic ARGO Mill. Here you’ll witness mining equipment demonstrations and explore the local Double Eagle ore mine.
Descend five stories underground, past artifacts and abandoned items, and reach the museum room at the bottom of the mine.
This is filled with fascinating photos, antiques, and historical facts about the Gold Rush Era.
Learn the art of panning for gold from an expert and try your luck with a bag of complimentary gold ore to take home.
This gold mine tour is perfect for families and history lovers, and you can even add a gem panning experience for an extra thrill.
4. SkyTrek Challenge Course
If you’re looking for something fun to do in Idaho Springs that’s more of a challenge, check out SkyTrek. This is the ultimate outdoor adventure for adventurers of all abilities.
This aerial challenge course is packed with over 60 exciting obstacles, elements including ziplines, offering fun and challenges for all ages.
SkyTrek is built on historic mining claims in Idaho Springs, where gold was first discovered to start the Colorado Gold Rush in 1859. It features a mining theme throughout the entire course.
Plus, you can choose your own adventure by deciding which course to take from beginner (Copper) to intermediate (Silver), or more advanced (Gold).
Each course has a variety of elements that create unique and challenging obstacles, ensuring you have a blast navigating your way through.
The Skytrek obstacle course offers heights of up to 50+ feet! But don’t worry, the course is designed for adventurers of all sizes and abilities, with participants as young as 4 years old welcome.
Along the way, you’ll learn about the rich history of the area while having a great time on this exciting aerial challenge course.
5. Mount Evans Climbing Experience
Located about 14 miles south of Idaho Springs is the iconic Mount Evans Mountain.
This Colorado fourteener is home to the Mount Evans Scenic Byway as well as epic hiking and mountain climbing.
Experience an unforgettable adventure as you climb high above the magnificent Chicago Creek on an assisted Via Ferrata tour.
With safety cables and harnesses to keep you secure, this 3-hour climbing tour is perfect for first-time rock climbers.
Enjoy stunning views of Idaho Springs and traverse steep cliff sides with ladders, bridges, and metal rungs to help guide you. Or descend via exhilarating ziplines and rappels for an added thrill.
At this Colorado Adventure Center, you’ll spend three hours mountaineering and rock climbing.
Activities include traversing the cliffside among iron rungs, a 50-foot free fall section, and ziplining on a few of the courses from AVA’s Cliffside Zipline course.
This small-group tour offers personalized attention from your experienced guide and is available in the morning or afternoon.
This rock climbing activity is built into the cliffside above Idaho Springs, Colorado, providing a unique and thrilling experience.
6. ATV Driving Tour
Another great thing to do in Idaho Springs is an ATV excursion tour. Embark on a thrilling adventure and explore the scenic area of Dumont with a guided ATV Tour.
With no prior experience necessary, you’ll be ready to hit the nearby trails and take in the breathtaking views.
Drivers must be at least 18 years old and possess a valid driver’s license.
Please note that each booking is for one driver only, and guests will be shuttled from our park to the ATV trail.
An ATV driving tour of Idaho Springs includes all of the gear you need, including helmets.
Get ready to rev up your engine and conquer the rugged terrain on this unforgettable 2-hour excursion, where you’ll see incredible views from the top of the Rocky Mountains.
In case of inclement weather, this ATV tour may be subject to cancellation. This activity has a maximum cap of 6 people.
7. Indian Hot Springs
Idaho Springs is famous for its hot springs and for good reason. The town boasts several natural hot springs, which are open to the public for soaking and relaxing.
The most popular spot is the Indian Hot Springs, which offers several indoor and outdoor pools filled with naturally hot mineral water.
Since 1905 Indian Hot Springs has been open to visitors thanks to the indoor swimming pool and the mineral-rich geothermal caves.
The resort’s vapor caves and spa services include mud baths, a feature not offered at all Colorado hot springs locations.
Not only that, but it’s one of the closest hot springs to Denver and a favorite weekend spot for locals looking to escape the city.
8. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding and Colorado have gone hand-in-hand since the Wild West days. And enjoying a day out on the trails on horseback is a terrific thing to do in Idaho Springs.
Thanks to an abundance of scenic trails nearby, there is never a shortage of areas to explore on horseback.
St. Mary’s Glacier offers stunning and breathtaking views and is only 1.5 miles round trip. It’s the perfect place for hiking or horseback riding.
As one of the nearest ski resorts to Denver, Echo Mountain Park is also located near Idaho Springs. And this destination offers a plethora of horse riding trails for all skill levels.
A&A Stables in Idaho Springs offers a spooky 1800s graveyard horseback riding experience. It’s like no other!
Or you can even take an afternoon riding trip to Central City’s historic downtown district on horseback.
9. Echo Mountain
Echo Mountain is one of Colorado’s newest and most affordable ski areas. It’s also conveniently located about 20 minutes south of Idaho Springs, less than an hour from Denver.
It’s a great place to visit during the summer months. There are plenty of fun activities to enjoy in this scenic mountain town, whether you’re looking for adventure or just a relaxing getaway.
If you’re looking for something a little less intense, you can also rent an ebike and cruise around the area at a more leisurely pace.
Finally, Echo Mountain is a great place to relax and soak up the mountain atmosphere.
You can spend your days lounging on the deck of your cabin, enjoying a picnic in the park, or taking a dip in the nearby lake.
In the winter there’s snow tubing, snowboarding and skiing available at Echo Mountain. It makes for a quick day of skiing and a nice getaway from Denver to enjoy the slopes.
No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to have a great time at Echo Mountain.
10. Hike the Trails
Speaking of Echo Mountain, one of the top things to do at this ski resort in the summer is to go hiking. Idaho Springs is surrounded by the Rocky Mountains, which means there are plenty of hiking trails to explore.
The mountain offers a variety of trails suitable for all skill levels, from easy strolls to challenging climbs.
Along the way, you can enjoy stunning views of the surrounding landscape and maybe even catch a glimpse of some local wildlife.
The trails here are perfect for adrenaline junkies, with plenty of steep descents, sharp turns, and jumps to keep you on your toes.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner, there’s a trail for everyone.
Some other popular options include the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, the Mount Bierstadt Trail, and the St. Mary’s Glacier.
No matter which trail you choose, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the mountains, forests, and rivers.
11. Underhill Museum
Before becoming a museum, this mansion was owned by former Colorado resident, Dr. James Underhill. In the late 1800s he was a noteworthy mining engineer of the nearby gold mines.
The home was constructed by the doctor and his wife in downtown Idaho Springs as their home and office.
The home’s unique design includes two front entrances, which are said to showcase the couple’s hospitality and personal greetings.
As you walk through the Underhill Museum, you’ll be able to see the beautiful furniture of the time as well as antiques and artifacts.
You’ll even see the original kitchen that Lucy Underhill used to prep and cook meals in.
Then, stroll through the Victorian Garden and courtyard at the back of the house which was a labor of love.
The Underhill Museum is managed and maintained by the Idaho Springs Historical Society.
12. Tommyknocker Brewery
Tommyknocker Brewery has been a top-awarded Colorado craft brewery for decades, and is a must-visit spot for beer enthusiasts.
The brewery has been around since 1994 and is located in a historic building in the heart of the town.
The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, making it a great spot to unwind after a day of exploring the area.
One of the best things about Tommyknocker Brewery is their wide selection of craft beers. They have something for everyone, from light and refreshing lagers to rich and complex stouts.
They even offer seasonal and limited-edition brews, so there’s always something new to try. In addition to the beer, Tommyknocker Brewery also serves up delicious food.
Their menu features pub favorites like burgers, sandwiches, and wings, as well as more unique offerings like bison chili and smoked salmon.
Everything is made fresh on-site and pairs perfectly with their brews. Overall, Tommyknocker Brewery is a fun and tasty destination in Idaho Springs.
Whether you’re a beer aficionado or just looking for a casual spot to grab a bite and a drink, it’s definitely worth checking out.
13. Golden Gate State Park
About 30 minutes north of Idaho Springs you’ll find the stunning Golden Gate State Park.
It’s a beautiful and serene destination that offers plenty of outdoor activities for locals and visitors.
The park is situated in the mountains and features dense forests, rolling meadows, and sparkling streams. During the fall especially, Golden Gate State Park turns into a yellow and gold wonderland.
One of the most popular activities in Golden Gate State Park is hiking. It has over 35 miles of trails, ranging from easy strolls to strenuous hikes.
Along the way, you can take in stunning views of the mountains and wildlife. If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to enjoy the park, you can also try fishing or picnicking.
The park has several ponds and streams where you can cast a line and try to catch some trout. Alternatively, you can pack a lunch and enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s designated picnic areas.
14. Black Hawk & Central City
Black Hawk and Central City are two charming towns located near the town of Idaho Springs.
These historic towns are known for their rich mining heritage, which can be seen in the many preserved buildings and artifacts.
One of the top attractions in Black Hawk and Central City is the numerous casinos.
As Colorado’s premier gaming destinations, each town features a wide range of slot machines, table games, and poker rooms.
If gambling isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other things to do in Black Hawk and Central City.
You can take a leisurely stroll through the historic downtown areas, explore the many museums and galleries, or enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants and cafes.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Black Hawk and Central City offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities.
The surrounding mountains provide stunning views and challenging trails for hikers and mountain bikers.
Whether you’re looking to hit the casinos, explore the rich mining heritage, or just enjoy the natural beauty of the Rockies, these towns are definitely worth a visit.
15. Loveland Ski Resort
Much like Echo Mountain, Loveland Ski Resort is another epic summer or winter destination near Idaho Springs.
This top-rated destination in Colorado is known for its world-class skiing and snowboarding. However, there’s more to do at Loveland than just hitting the slopes.
One popular activity at Loveland Ski Resort is hiking in the summer or snowshoeing in winter.
The resort offers several miles of groomed trails that are perfect for exploring the beautiful landscape.
Snowshoe rentals are available on-site, so you can easily gear up and hit the trails. If you’re looking for a more adrenaline-fueled activity, you can also try your hand at snowmobiling.
Loveland offers guided snowmobile tours that take you through the snowy wilderness, offering stunning views of the Rockies.
Loveland Ski Resort offers plenty of fun and exciting activities for visitors of all ages and interests. Plus, it’s perfect for both summer or winter seasons.
16. Local Art Galleries
One of our favorite things to do when visiting a small mountain town like Idaho Springs is to check out the local art galleries.
We love looking at the culture and color that local artists display in their paintings and sculptures.
One of the top art galleries in Idaho Springs is the Heritage Museum Gallery and Gifts. This gallery features a wide range of art, including paintings, sculptures, and jewelry, all created by local artists.
The gallery also offers classes and workshops for those looking to hone their own artistic skills.
Another great option is The Majestic Gallery, which showcases the work of artists from all over the state.
In the summer it features rotating exhibits and a popup show where you can purchase handmade art, sculptures, and paintings from local artists.
If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, check out the many boutiques and gift shops in downtown Idaho Springs.
These shops offer a variety of handmade and locally sourced items, including art, jewelry, and other crafts.
Overall, Idaho Springs is a great destination for art lovers, offering a variety of galleries and shops that showcase the creativity and talent of local artists.
Whether you’re looking for a unique piece of art or just want to soak up the local culture, be sure to explore the art scene in Idaho Springs.
17. Beau Jo’s Pizza
For foodies, there are plenty of options, including farm-to-table restaurants, bakeries, and cafes. But one must-visit eatery in Idaho Springs is Beau Jo’s Pizza.
The Colorado-style pizza is cut extra thick to contain the plethora of topping options. It’s perfect after a day out on the slopes or hiking trails, when you’ve worked up a good appetite.
But it has an extra twist, as the pizza is sold by the pound to provide an incredible amount of toppings, cheese and sauce.
Plus, this Colorado mountain pie becomes dessert as it’s served with a side of honey.
No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find something delicious to satisfy any craving in Idaho Springs.
Idaho Springs in Colorado is also a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts.
The town is surrounded by beautiful rivers and streams that are teeming with trout and other local fish. And one of the best spots to fish in Idaho Springs is in Clear Creek county.
This scenic waterway runs through the heart of the town and offers plenty of opportunities to catch brown and rainbow trout.
Clear Creek Canyon is a breathtaking natural wonder itself. This beautiful canyon features towering cliffs, sparkling streams, and lush forests that provide a scenic backdrop for outdoor activities.
There are several access points along the creek, so you can easily find a spot to cast your line.
If you’re looking for a more secluded fishing experience, you can also head to one of the nearby reservoirs or mountain lakes.
These areas are known for their abundant fish populations and beautiful scenery.
19. Phoenix Gold Mine
If you’re into gold mining history, take a tour of the Phoenix Gold Mine. This retired Colorado mine is one of the best educational and interactive things to do with kids in Idaho Springs.
Owned by 4th-generation Colorado miners, you can enjoy a 45-minute tour into a real mining tunnel.
Learn the geology of the mine, how ore in Colorado was once processed, and even see a real gold vein.
Along the tour you’ll be able to see retired mining equipment and even pan for gold.
This underground tour is often kept at a chilly 45 degrees so be sure to dress in layers and wear suitable footwear.
20. The Frothy Cup
Another great thing about visiting Idaho Springs near Denver are the abundance of coffee shops on Main Street.
The Frothy Cup is a local favorite that serves up hot drinks and baked treats for residents and visitors. The coffee shop has won several awards for the best hot drinks in town!
As you enter the coffee shop on main street, you can’t help but smell the delicious aroma of coffee. This is because The Frothy Cup roasts their own beans on site.
In the winter months, a stop at the Frothy Cup is a welcomed getaway after a cold day out skiing or snowboarding.
We recommend the signature “Christmas in a Cup” if you’re visiting the town for the holidays.
Or if you’re looking for a more traditional cup of Joe, the town also has a Starbucks available.
21. Mount Evans Scenic Byway
No list of the best things to do in Idaho Springs is complete without a drive along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway.
This iconic Colorado drive takes you up to the summit of Mount Evans, one of the tallest peaks in the Rockies. This 28-mile route is the highest paved road in North America.
Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
One of the highlights of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway is Echo Lake Park. This beautiful park is located near the base of the mountain and features a picturesque lake surrounded by towering trees.
You can take a leisurely stroll around the lake, have a picnic with friends and family, or go fishing for trout.
At the top of the Mount Evans Scenic Byway, you’ll find the summit of Mount Evans itself.
This 14,000-foot peak offers panoramic views of the Rockies and is a popular spot for hiking, climbing, and wildlife watching.
22. Miner Street
Miner Street in Idaho Springs is home to a variety of unique shops and restaurants that offer something for everyone.
Check out the aromatic mixes at the Spice and Tea Exchange which offers over 140 different types of tea, sugars, and salts.
Or stop at the Gypsum Rose for gems, crystals, rocks, and unique jewelry. The Feral Mountain CO offers both new and used outdoor gear, in case you forget to pack something for your day trip.
The Squatch Store is also available for anything you need on your trip including gas, breakfast burritos, and drinks.
Miner Street is also a great place to buy souvenirs, keepsakes or knick-knacks to remember your Colorado adventures.
You can find everything from handmade gifts and souvenirs to artisanal coffee and craft beers.
23. Idaho Springs Nightlife
After a day of exploring the town and the mountains, it’s time to unwind and enjoy the nightlife.
While it may be a small town, Idaho Springs offers plenty of things to do at night. It’s home to several bars and nightclubs that offer live music, dancing, and drinks.
One of the top things to do at night in Idaho Springs is to explore the local breweries and bars.
The Westbound & Down Brewing Company is a great option for craft beer lovers, while the Yeti Saloon and the Vintage Moose offer a more laid-back atmosphere.
If you’re in the mood for something a little more active, check out the local bowling alley. The Clear Creek County Bowl offers bowling, billiards, and arcade games, making it a fun spot for a group outing.
Whether you want to dance the night away or simply enjoy a cold beer, you’ll find plenty of options in town.
In conclusion, the historic mining town of Idaho Springs is a hidden gem. It offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation.
Whether you’re looking to grab a drink with friends, go for an afternoon horseback ride, or relax in a Colorado hot spring, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this charming mountain town.
So pack your bags, grab your friends and family, and head to Idaho Springs for a day trip you’ll never forget.