If you’re interested in mining history and old mines, don’t miss the Vindicator Valley Trail. This 2-mile loop trail passes multiple mines including head frames, ore houses, mills, explosives storage, cabins and more.
There are two trailheads for the Vindicator Valley Trail, one near the Theresa Mine on Country Road 81 and another at the Vindicator Mine on Country Road 381. Most people start at the Theresa Mine trailhead so they can do the uphill portion of the loop first.
Take the short dirt road to the parking lot and then head out on the trail lined with a wooden fence. When you come to a split, I recommend heading straight ahead toward the large structure.
As you arrive at the large structure, you’ll notice two other buildings here and a sign. The sign explains that this was the Theresa Mine. The Theresa Gold Mining Company ran this mine from 1895 to 1900. It was then purchased and sold several times, operating off
and odd until a fire destroyed the surface plant in 1934.
The owners replaced the old wooden head frame with the steel structure you see today. The mine finally closed for good in 1961, but it produced over $2.5 million in gold.
After exploring here, continue up the trail to a small shack and a viewpoint with a sign that explains what you’re seeing in this area.
About 0.4 miles from the trailhead, you’ll come to a trail split. The mine on your left is the Anna J Mine (1895-1947). The building on your right was used for storing explosives.
Take the shot spur trail to the remnants of the Golden Cycle Mine. The above-ground workings are mostly gone, leaving some of the
underground workings to see.
Back on the main trail, hike pass the Christmas Mine remnants to the Pikes Peak viewpoint. A sign here points out Pikes Peak,
which is hard to miss, but also some of the other sights in the area including the Victor Water Tower, the Water Treatment Plant and other peaks and mountains.
The next remnant is another building for explosives’ storage, then you’ll see the Bebee House — home to a mining superintendent and his family. The home started as a log cabin and was expanded room by room as the Bebee Family needed space.
Pass the Lille Mine remnants and you’ll come to what may be the crown jewel of this hike — the Vindicator Mine. There are multiple remnants of the old Vindicator Mine. However, when I visited, the trail was closed here and I had to walk around on a road from the cabin, back to the trail. The good news about my detour is that there is another cabin here and more mining equipment off the main trail, so even if you stay on the main trail, when you come to a spot where the fence opens up at the upper trailhead, I would suggest a short detour around the area to see some of the other remnants up here.
At the upper trailhead is a sign that explains the history of mining in this area. Now it’s time to head downhill around the second half of the
The trail passes the Glorietta Mine, which is mainly a pile of rocks, but then it comes to the Vindicator’s Ore House. This is an impressive building. A sign here explains the rock sorting process.
Continue down the trail to a sign that explains the history of the Grace Greenwood Mine. The signs says the head frame and hoist house were moved up the hill in 2012-2013 and you can see them in the distance.
As you hike this section of the trail, look along the fence line for more mining holes, equipment remnants and other items.
The next sign explains the reclamation process and how it’s paid for.
As I hiked, I passed the remnants of several more mining operations including the Dunham, the Longfellow and the Clyde Mine before spotting a cabin in the trees. There was another cabin near the trail as it turned west, then east.
As you hike along the bottom of the hillside, you’ll come to the remnants of a brick wall. This was the La Bella Power Plant. It provided electricity to the nearby streetcar line, mines and mills. It even provided compressed air to mining operations to run drills, hoists and locomotives.
Here the trail starts slightly uphill, but you can take a break at the sign that explains the remnants of nearby town of Goldfield.
Soon you’ll below the Theresa Mine and then back to the trail split and your turnoff back to your parking lot.
Details: The hike around the Vindicator Valley Trail is about two miles with 350 feet of elevation gain. Remember, you’re hiking at 10,200 feet in elevation and it can be hard to catch your breath up here, especially for kids and seniors. Take it easy.
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Directions: From Victor, turn north on 2nd Avenue, then right/east on Diamond Ave/CR 67. Go about 0.4 miles and turn left/north on CR 81. Go north about 1.2 miles to the trailhead on your left.