SAINTS JOHN GHOST TOWN
Super-sweet spot for snowshoeing, nordic skiing or hiking
Our first hiking trip to Saints John became a springtime snowshoeing adventure. A top spot for snowshoers and backcountry skiers. The kids strapped snowboards to their backpacks, we loaded up snowshoes, lunch, and headed to Keystone over Loveland Pass. About 5 miles out of Keystone we stopped in the town of Montezuma, a semi-ghost town to begin our little family hiking adventure.
Our snowshoeing trek out of Montezuma, lead us up a fairly steep incline on a 4×4 road with several switchbacks before reaching Saints John. The Colorado sun, so warm, had us down to snow pants and t-shirts. Stopping along the trail for my “teen” snowboarders to hike up the mountainside, and ride down. A wonder to behold, so much powder, doing all their tricks, such speed, and a lot of smiles…
Upon reaching Saints John we found a couple rooftops peeking out of mounds of snow and that’s about it, too much perfect Colorado snow! Was spectacular to witness. Wish I had not forgotten my camera.
We will have to come back hiking in the summer …
Now it’s summer, snow is gone, a totally different hiking experience.
Up the switchbacks before reaching Saints John we encountered deer, abundant wildflowers, and beautiful dense forest on each side of you. A trickle of water running down the side of the trail, with several Colorado dreamy dispersed camping spots hidden deep in the pines. Do we really have to go home?
Coming into Saints John was surprising. It was obvious a few cabins had inhabitants for the summer. Not much left from long ago to explore, but exhilarating nonetheless.
Remnants of an old mill were scattered about, with several cabins dating back to the 1860’s mixed in. Sweeping views of some of the most scenic terrain I have seen in Summit County. Beautiful.
The hiking trail continues on to historical Wild Irishman Mine.
Our day felt pretty remote. We did not encounter anyone. Let someone know where you’re going before heading out and always bring the appropriate backcountry gear for high altitude hiking and any weather conditions.
Montezuma to Saints John ghost town, approx: 3.2 miles out and back
Starting elevation: Montezuma 10,302 ft.
Can continue to hike, snowshoe, nordic ski to Wild Irishman Mine, 12,000 ft
Open also to snowmobiles and all terrain vehicles
A little history: one of the first silver strikes in Colorado, originally named Coleyville
Saints John Town named for St. John the Evangelist and St. John the Baptist
White River National Forest
Contact Dillon Ranger District for the latest trail conditions, weather and dispersed camping guidelines. 970-468-5400