You can still see the remnants of the gold and silver mines on the steep slopes above the Victorian buildings that line the streets in Georgetown. Originally established during the 1859 gold rush, the town earned the name of “Silver Queen of Colorado” after silver was discovered in 1864.
Listed as a National Historic District, Georgetown is one of the best-preserved mining towns in Colorado. More than 200 of the old buildings have been restored and preserved. The Georgetown website has descriptions of many of the buildings.
Georgetown is approximately 45 miles west of Denver and at an altitude of approximately 8,500 feet. Heading west on I-70, you’ll see the long lake first but keep an eye on the slopes on the right side of the road for herds of Big Horn sheep and goats.
Get off on exit 228 and stop at the Visitors Information Center to pick up a town map and information about this quaint town. Turn right at the 4way stop sign and it’s a two-minute drive to the historic downtown district. (Movie buffs might be interested to know that downtown was used to film the movie Every which Way But Loose Staring Clint Eastwood and The Christmas Gift with John Denver.)
The most popular attraction is the Georgetown Loop Railroad. A ride on the narrow gauge track, first laid in the late 1800s, takes you over four high bridges and on horseshoe curves clinging to the mountainside.
Many people come for a ride on the railroad and a tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine, then just walk around the tiny downtown. If you want to see the opulent lodgings for wealthy visitors in the 1800’s, visit the Hotel de Paris. For a look at how wealthy locals lived, visit the Hamill House.
The Happy Cooker (412 6th Street; (303) 569-3166),is a casual spot for breakfast and lunch. Try the waffles or a sandwich on the homemade bread.
The Euro Grill (1025 Rose Street. (303) 569-2126) offers schnitzel to goulash. It’s casual and moderately priced.
You can take a trip to see bits and pieces of the Old West by visiting Georgetown and Idaho Springs. Both are just off I-70. If you are staying in Denver end the day with a dramatic drive on the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway (which starts in Georgetown) then head back to Denver.