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Eldora Colorado Ghost Town

Photos Mike Sinnwell 2005

You can get here on a paved road. No 4x4 needed. Mostly summer homes in the area today but several buildings from the past have managed to remain standing. Some of the original buildings have been restored for use as summer homes. The town was started in 1889 by a fellow named Jack Gilfillan when he built the first cabin.

UPDATE 2/28/06 -A special THANKS to a resident of Eldora for calling me and setting me straight on several items.

SLOW DOWN - That was the most important thing she stated. We both have a strong desire for all the people that go thru Eldora on the way to Hessie or some of the hiking trails to watch out for the children. Roads are narrow and kids like to wander the town.

Eldora is NOT a ghost town. - I tend to disagree but that is only because my definition of a ghost town is different then hers. Here is mine - "On my site I refer to Ghost Towns rather liberally. Basically it can be any town involved in mining or agricultural activity that went thru various cycles of boom and bust and/or towns that are important to the history of Colorado and the old west. I apologize if I have offended you."  We agreed that she was correct. As she stated the town actually had a influx of new residents in the late 1980s and early 1990s.She should know as she has lived there over 20 years.

She stated that I was incorrect that most of the homes are not summer homes. I have to take her word for that as she lives there and I don't. She also stated that maybe only 30% of the cabins are summer homes.

All things considered it is still a nice place to visit, but remember to slow down. THANKS

A viewer writes - Thursday, March 19, 2009 - My grandfather, Jay Church, operated freight wagons and stagecoaches through Eldora, Nederland, Boulder, Central City and all places in between. His wife, Minnie (Hiatt) worked at the Black Hawk Hotel in the late 1800's where they met. They set up housekeeping in Apex, a short distance from Central City and then owned and operated a livery stable/dance hall in Eldora until the mines played out. The livestock was kept in the bottom and the dancing was in the loft which actually was accessible from main street. The foundation is still there at least as of 2002. Ed Hutchinson

A viewer writes -  Wednesday, January 20, 2010 - Rocky-as many of the rest of your visitors to your site, I stumbled across it as I was Googling Eldora and ghost towns.  My great-grandfather bought a miner's cabin in Eldora in 1900.  My family used it as a summer place- I'm not sure why, because they lived in Boulder.  However, my parents gave me the cabin as a gift this past Christmas.  I love you site!  There is nothing I like more than to explore the mountains in the summer and I have always been fascinated with ghost towns.  Your site will be helpful in my wanderlust.  Another fun area is Lake Eldora- just up the mountain.  There are three beautiful lakes, an old burned out Lodge and abandoned cabins.  Across from Peterson Lake at the top of the road before you enter the ski area, is the Terror Mine and a mining camp with a dozen one-room mining cabins in an aspen grove.     

A viewer writes - Monday, December 27, 2010 -- I lived in Eldora for 3 winters in the 80's. Best experience of my life. Think of Eldora everyday. I paid 200 in rent. Ghosts? I never thought of it as a ghost town. Although a friendly one dwelled with me.   Karen

A viewer writes - Thu 9/1/2011 - Hi; I was wondering if you might know who owns the gold miner hotel in Eldora these days? My parents were married there in 1980 and they are still going strong... The story is that my folks simply knocked on the door and asked the family who lived there if they'd be willing to rent it out to them and the family obliged them and moved all their furniture out of the main level for this one day to allow my folks and their wedding party to celebrate there. I dream of having an anniversary party for them there some year. Things were quite different then and knocking on someones door to ask such a favor was not unheard of, but these days I doubt that would go over so well. If you have any information to share or if you can point me to someone else who might, it would be greatly appreciated.  Warmly, Norah Sorensen-Nathan

Rocky responds - Try their site -

A viewer writes -  Friday November 4th 2011 - Hi, A couple of questions for you, if you don't mind. Is the old apartment building, directly across from Gold Miner Motel still standing? I believe the owner of the hotel at that time (which may be you?) was the landlord. At the time I lived there (early 80's), there was one apartment upstairs and one downstairs, possibly 2? The lower apt that I lived in was 3 rooms, kitchen had an old wood cookstove which was a first for me. Smile emoticon  I am just real curious if what I was told  "at one time the old building housed a saloon on the lower level & brothel with 9 small rooms upstairs" is correct? I recently ran across an old picture of the old place and it left me with these questions & it brought back fond memories of the short time I spent in Eldora, hiking, picking & eating wild strawberries just up the road, meeting great people & several people I met fell in love with my son who loved to walk their dogs...lovely town, even though it was a hard life for me at that time. Thank you for your time, Diane  

Rocky Responds - In reference to your question about the Gold Miners Hotel: I am not aware of any historic record of the hotel being a saloon and a brothel but that does not rule the possibility out either. I do know it was used for social gatherings and at one time was the main place in town that was the hub of the “elite” with lavish dances. Just considering they had dances in the hotel it must have had a saloon to give the people a place to quench their thirst.

In reference to your other question I have to ask one back – Directly across in what direction? As you know the hotel sits on a corner. I suspect the answer is no.

A viewer writes - Monday, May 21, 2012 -- What a stroll down memory lane, reading your comments about Eldora!  I played guitar with a local there in the late '70's and early '80's.  I have many fond memories of that beautiful little town, especially strumming outside amongst the wildflowers in the summer!

Thanks for a great site, Kristy in AZ (missing CO)

A viewer writes - Sun 7/1/2012 11:57 AM -- I ran across your site when trying to do a little research on Lake Eldora where my great grandparents had a summer cabin. I have a lot of pictures of my grandmother with her horse near the cabin & on the lake in the early 1900's. However, as I looked at the pictures of the lake then and in comparison with the Lake Eldora now geographically something looks changed. Did they change the shape of Lake Eldora when they made a dam there? I was trying to find maps of that time frame but haven't found any.  

My grandmother talked about walking over the ridge from Lake Eldora to the town of Eldora to go to dances then walked back home from there after the dance. The dances most likely took place in one of the hotels there in Eldora? I guess as the way the crow flies it was probably about a mile. Is there still a trail that leads to and from those locations?  Debbie Koegler (William Clark great granddaughter)

A viewer writes - Sunday, September 09, 2012  -- Marilyn - My parents had a cabin in Eldora in the 50s.  It was located on Klondike Avenue, a humble one-room log cabin with a creepy and stinky outhouse.  My Dad built on a kitchen and a little storage room along about 1958 or so.  Some of my happiest memories are from this time and place.  I walked to town to "The Hitchin' Post" and bought penny candy from Mrs. Worthington, who was also the postmistress.  I would then stop by and visit the the Kemps in their little gift shop.  I was about 7 or 8 at the time.  Can you imagine allowing a 7-year old kid to wander around alone?  How times have changed.  At least once a summer we hiked up to the old Lake Eldora Lodge, sometimes straight up from Eldora and sometimes from the Marysville side.  We always took the dog along for protection.  Saw a bear or two over the years.

A viewer writes - Thursday, September 13, 2012 -- I have discovered 500 shares of stock that my grandfather owned of the Swarthmore consolidated mining company. Can anyone give me any history of this mine?  Thanks

Rocky Says: Lucky you - I did a quick Google search and came up with numerous sources of information for Swarthmore. Some even indicated a desire to purchase the certificates.

A viewer writes - Friday, June 13, 2014 -- I lived in Eldora, Co. summer of 1981 across from the hotel in the lower apartment that another visitor to your site mentioned.  The upstairs at that time had a lot of small rooms (the brothel). The lower apartment had been the newspaper office, although maybe it was also saloon at one time. That was t :/ e story of owner at that time.