The Great Colorado Mine (20.66 Acre Lode Mining Claim)
The Great Colorado Mine lode mining claim is a 20.66 acre unpatented mining claim in the Rocky Mountains, approximately 43 miles West of Fort Collins in the Manhattan Gold Mining District of Northern Colorado. It is only a few miles South of Red Feather Lakes. Because it is on National Forest land, it allows camping, hiking, dogs, and shooting.
This is a very special claim for the Manhattan District. To the best of my knowledge this is the most extensive claim in the area, containing over 21 vertical shafts, and many prospects that may actually be extensive inclined shafts! At least two shafts are known to have been fairly deep and have extensive workings. At least one shaft is known to have an eroded in drift tunnel partway down. Tailings on the surface contain low grade sulfide ores, and some quartz. The claim also has multiple large quartz outcroppings, and easy access for camping or RVs. Scroll down for maps, including an interactive Google Maps window.
The ore seen in the tailings pile rates from low grade to medium grade sulphide, quartzite, and quartz type ores.
Estimated gold reserves in tailings: Unknown
Estimated gold reserves on claim: Unknown
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Easy parking next to the posted sign of the mining claim. To the right is the closed road (tilled up, great for prospecting!) and the access road (to the left). RV/camping spot behind camera.
The first of many shafts is right off the access road. It now contains some more modern junk, but appears easy to dig out. I have begun to slowly start digging out this shaft. In the background are the tailings from one of the deeper shafts.
A view looking into the first shaft. It is about 10 feet deep with a 20 ft diameter bowl created by eroding in. Timber is buried at the bottom. I have added a new peeled timber for support as the shaft is dug out (barely visible).
Tailings of one of the deeper shafts on the claim.
Looking across the larger tailings pile, across the shaft at its end, to the cabin-like hoist house structure which boasts yet another shaft, and a second large tailings pile.
The large shaft has a tree growing from the side, which leans across the shaft. This shaft is nearly 20 feet deep and has a 20 ft diameter bowl from eroding in. It may have been nearly 100 feet deep. The hoist house structure is seen behind it.
Now on the other side of the hoist house, looking along the long tailings pile towards the hoist house and large shaft on the other side. 3 other shafts are within 50 feet, not pictured in this set.
Further East are two long deep cuts through the mineral outcropping hill. Wide enough to drive through before the trees, notice the gobbing on either side of the cuts. There is reason to suspect that large shafts were in the center of the cuts, and these may have been to facilitate haulage.
Near the large cuts are smaller cuts like this, which had shafts at the far end, now eroded in. Some fresh timber and a shovel could get these back in operation within a season!
One of the most exciting collapsed shafts! At the bottom of this rock face is an open space- The top of a tunnel! It has been washed full of dirt and small rocks, but some dedicated digging and you'd be underground in your very own drift tunnel off of a shaft! My shadow can be seen for scale here.
Here we can see the second cut through the mineral outcropping. At the center, near the old sawn and peeled timbers, bowl erosion indicates that there was a vertical shaft here. You can still see the gobbing on the right!
Here we can see the road which the Forest Service tilled up in late July 2020 to keep 4 wheelers from using it. They brought up a bulldozer and tilled up the surface, going a few feet down. This is ideal for prospecting across a long distance, very easily and with little effort!
Near the center of the claim is the second, and much larger, hoist house. This shows the Western wall in the late afternoon sunlight.
This large long tailings pile continues to the left, and on the right meets the large hoist house. It contains medium grade sulfide ores, and is an indicator that this shaft likely exceded 150 feet deep, with possible drift tunnels.
View of the large hoist house from the North. This building is giant for this area. Near the old door, you can still see a peice of rusted ventilation tubing. Ventilation tubing is a great sign that this shaft had extensive workings, since most small mines did not require forced airflow.
Another view from the North looking at the large hoist house. Inside, there is a 30 ft deep steep walled pit- The remains of the deep extensive shaft here. New timber and a lot of digging would get this mine back into operation! Luckily, most of the erosion appears to be soil, and there is no evidence of a serious collapse.
Looking into the huge pit at the large hoist house. It wants to be reopened!
Skipping past many smaller shafts and moving further East from the large hoist house, we come to the Eastern workings. Here, there are many artifacts left behind by the old timer miners. Here, we see a vintage can, sealed in the long forgotten manner with a soldered plug.
The Eastern workings are very extensive, with many shafts and the likely site of a deep and extensive inclined shaft. Shown here is a large shaft, with a 20-30 ft bowl nearly 20 feet feep.
Looking down into the shaft, note the abundance of low and medium grade sulfide ores, in addition to quartz.
From the high point on the Eastern workings from the North. A large built up tailings pile sits above a large shaft, and a very large depression that is suspected to be the old entrance to a large inclined shaft/tunnel.
Showing the outer edge of the Eastern workings from the North. The large hoist house is about 600 feet to the right of this picture.
Another view from the North, with some beautiful wildflowers, and the tailings ahead and below.
Some of the abundant float found at the huge quartz outcroppings about 50-200 feet North of the claim centerline.
Mineralization found on a peice of float. This peice was found on one of the quartz outcroppings. A great sign of potential!
One of the large quartz outcroppings. The main quartz vein is seen to the right.
Even more mineralization in the float! Rose quartz, smoky quartz, and more is found here.
Near the Northern boundary of the claim, looking out at some of the mountains. This is at the turnaround for the access road. The glare and haze was from my camera lense.
Looking past the claim sign, near the centerline of the claim on the Western side. Lots of flat ground for RVs and tents! This is a favorite spot for some, so make sure you arrive early.
On the drive out, looking North from the main road across the clear cut. Lots of good timber while it's dry. The center and Eastern workings are just within the treeline you see here in the distance.