Destination Guides
Destination USA Guides
Best Hotel Deals
affordable insurance
auto | RV | health | life

Feature Attractions - Dave's Mountain Tours
Riding on the "highway" up to Tomboy, the same route that miners used.Telluride, Colorado

by Carl Burnham

For an adventurous and scenic view, we took a tour 3,000 feet above Telluride to see the ghost town of Tomboy. Dave's Mountain Tours picked us up at our inn, and started us up Tomboy Road.

The one-way road to Tomboy and beyond to Imogene Pass where we were going is rather steep, narrow, bumpy, and only recommended for 4wd. The life of the miner was hard and rugged, with avalanches and remoteness, only tempored by the chance of striking it rich, or just the assurance of a steady paycheck in the mines.

Our tour guide provided us with a rich background of Telluride life and local mining, as we went up the winding, narrow 12-mile road, with views of the town below. Turns along the road have to be "negotiated," as well as when returning vehicles creep by yours with only an inch or two to spare. We ventured up past an old miners' former shack by the road, which had been abandoned for years.

At one of our first stops along the tour at a rock overhang, we could see the old hydro electric plant at the top of Bridal Veil Falls, which still produces electricity. Now a residence, a family lives in the upper level of the building part of the year. At this viewpoint along the road, in the miners days, an open tent would be pitched and ladies of the “evening” from the streets of Telluride below Main Street would socialize with miners from Tomboy.

The Smuggler Union mill site which was the town of Pandora, handled ore from local mines, and is part of a large reclamation project. A section of the tram above the mill can still be seen, which served for transporting equipment and ore back and forth, with a boarding house nearby. The tram cables consist of heavy duty reinforced steel cables, impressive in size.

The Tomboy ghost town is a mile further, and still has a few buildings that remain. The Tomboy Mine was one of the leading gold mines in the world. Near the former town, we could see a long slice in the rock next to the road where miners had excavated a huge vein of gold.
Several mines were built in the surrounding area after gold was discovered here. While at the Telluride Museum in town, be sure to see the replica of the Harriet Fish Backup Tomboy cabin, who came to Tomboy in its' early days as a bride, only to discover harsh surroundings. We recommend the book Tomboy Bride for an interesting personal read of her life at Tomboy. Buy the book here for a special price of $12.89, which includes free shipping! (see link at left to order).

The town of Tomboy grew to over 900 residents in the late 1800s, bigger than Telluride at the time, with all the comforts of a bustling town, and being close to the mines. In later years, after many years of declining profits and high labor costs, the mine was shut down. Many of the town buildings were destroyed by the mining company over thirty years ago, due to liability concerns. A few buildings remain, as well as foundations, which adds a spooky ghost town aura.

Note the snow along the road in August. A few weeks before was some prime skiing here.

The weather gets rather chilly at this elevation, and can rain or snow at any time. A jacket or coat is highly recommended for the tour, you'll be glad you brought it.

Imogene Pass is the second highest elevation in the U.S. that allows 4wd access. From here can be seen panoramic views of surrounding peaks. You may notice that the oxygen is a good bit thinner here (at least 40 percent), so drink plenty of water and gauge yourself.

The road beyond Imogene Pass which leads to Silverton.
A range of tours are available during the summer to area ghost towns and along other 4wd backcountry roads and passes, with memorable names like Last Dollar Road, Lizard Head, and Black Bear Pass. There are many options available for your tour. We even saw a wedding while we were here. In the winter season, Dave's Mountain Tours provides snowmobile tours designed to fit your interests and skills. For an adrenaline rush time while in Telluride, whether summer of winter, take a tour with Dave's Mountain Tours.

For tour reservations with Dave's Mountain Tours,
call 970-708-2478, or email.

Top of Page

Discount Attraction Cards GoCards
GO USA cards - unlimited FREE admissions to top attractions!

check our exclusive specials

Travel America Tshirts & More

Arches | Grand Canyon
Glacier-Mtn. Goat

Best Rated Hotels

Advertise with Southpoint