If you're looking for a trail with awesome history, killer views, aspen trees, and topped off with a gorgeous stream/waterfall, the 7:30 Mine hike is what you want! It is a gem of a trail.
This 4 mile hike climbs above the town of Silver Plume and has QR codes along the trail which take you to pages explaining the history of where you are standing and the surrounding mining ruins. (I had cell service everywhere along the trail). It really is a cool experience learning about the area on a bit of a self guided history tour of the mines.
You'll want to park on Main Street in tiny, historic Silver Plume. The trailhead is on the North side of Silver Street, right in town. You start off climbing the mountainside above the town and see remnants of the mining past pretty much everywhere. As you reach some old abandoned telephone poles, look down in the gulch below and see old abandoned mining carts.
A little further up you will come across an old collapsed cabin as well as a bunch of other photogenic mine ruins. Most of the mine entries are gated over, however a bit further up along the trail you will come across an opening you can enter. It doesn't go back very far and was likely used as a storage room, but is a great spot to get a bit of a window into what the inside of the mines were like.
Towards the end of the hike you will come upon the Griffin Memorial. This is the grave marker of Clifford Griffin, one of the owners of the 7:30 mine. Treating his miners and laborers quite well for the time, he was well liked by all who knew him. 7:30 Mine was actually named due to its workday starting at 7:30, a full hour later than other mines. It is said that Clifford Griffin would play his violin up on this cliff, serenading the people of Silver Plume down below. On June 19th, 1887, after a beautiful recital, the people of Silver Plume heard a gunshot ring out. They raced up the mountain to find Griffin dead of a self afflicted gunshot wound in a grave he had dug for himself on the mountain. They buried him there and raised money from the workers and miners in the town to pay for the headstone you see today. There are legends that on some gorgeous summer nights you can still faintly hear Griffin's violin recitals echoing off the walls of the canyons, played by his ghost! Below you can see the cliff he would play his violin from, and the marker.
Walk a little further past the monument and you will come to a beautiful mountain stream/waterfall. It really roars in the late spring/early summer. There are many remnants of the mining past, including two giant boilers providing a picturesque waterfall in the rapids! This is a great spot to rest, listen to the water and take in the views!
Be careful crossing the stream and the path will wind you up to the actual mine shaft of the 7:30 Mine. It is of course gated off but still neat to see.
The views all along the trail are pretty spectacular, however due to its proximity to I-70, you will hear traffic noise most of the time. Overall this is a fantastic adventure into the past and certainly not a trail to be missed!
The views and mining ruins offer lots of opportunities for fantastic photos. Bring your camera on this one!
With its QR codes along the trail and internet along the trail, you can give yourself a pretty spectacular self-guided tour of the history along the trail!
The 7:30 Mine Trail starts pretty much right in Silver Plume, immediately off I-70. It is suggested to park on Main Street and walk up to the trailhead North on Silver Street.