Colorado’s Hardest to Reach Ghost Town: Commodore Camp

By Kenneth Jessen Excluding ghost towns on private property, possibly the hardest to reach by vehicle is located in Alamosa County near the base of three fourteen thousand peaks, Ellingwood Point (14,048 feet), Blanca Peak (14,345 feet) and Little Bear (14,036 feet). It was called Camp Commodore (a.k.a. Commodore Camp or simply Commodore). The treacherous …

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Places – Iris: A Very Remote Ghost Town

Article, photo and map by Kenneth Jessen Iris, located in the northern part of Saguache County south of Gunnison, was one of the most remote ghost towns in the state. Until recently, the roads into the area were private, gated and posted. New home construction west of the site has opened up the area to …

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All That Remains of Bonanza is a Name

By Allen Best

When does a town cease to be a town? That’s been the question this year for Bonanza, a place that for most of its existence has failed to live up to its name.

It’s located in south-central Colorado, 13 miles of gravel road from the nearest highway, post office or business. This is in the forested fringe of the northern San Luis Valley, a broad triangle of high desert sandwiched by 13,000- and 14,000-foot peaks.

The town was launched as a formal municipality in 1881. This was during Colorado’s mining boom. Bonanza had seven dance halls, four smelters, two hotels and one newspaper, along with 1,000 residents.

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Duncan, Colorado – The Story of a Short-Lived Town on the Edge of the Great Sand Dunes

Story and photos by Kenneth Jessen

There are well over 1,500 ghost towns in Colorado. Many are abandoned mining camps spread out over the western half of the state. Among the most obscure is Duncan, located along the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The history of Duncan started in 1874 when John Duncan followed an old trail over Medano Pass into the San Luis Valley. At the mouth of Pole Creek, he discovered some “float,” or gold-bearing ore, that had washed down from the mountains. He constructed a durable cabin made of hand-hewn logs locked tightly together with corner notches. As word got out other prospectors were attracted to the area, and in 1890 a town grew up around his cabin. Duncan then turned from prospector to town promoter, laid out the town of Duncan, and sold lots for $25 each.

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