The small town of Montezuma, CO may no longer be full of businesses but the trails keep people visiting. Sitting west of the Continental Divide nestled in the Rocky Mountains above Keystone allows winter enthusiasts to enjoy several trails for either snow shoeing, cross country skiing or snowmobiling. In drier months, bikers and hikers blaze the mountains. Here are some of the top trails for any month.
At the very end of Montezuma Road is The Deer Creek Trail for beginner to intermediate levels. Remnants of once bustling silver mines can be seen in the summer or imagined in winter. About two miles into the hike you will come to the Deer Creek valley, an open field surrounded by thousands of pines. The trail is generally quiet and does not see as much traffic as other nearby trails. Once you reach timberline it is best to turn around because avalanche danger increases. The trail runs 5.2 miles and gains 900 feet and gradually tops at 11,400 feet. Plan for 3 to 4 hours to complete the hike.
If you are looking for something more challenging, Saint John’s Trail is for intermediate to advanced levels. Miners once roamed the area seeking fortunes of silver. The Saint John’s Mine was the site of the first major silver strike in Colorado. The valley once had a library, sawmill and smelter which were destroyed by an avalanche in the 1800’s. At the end of the trail you will be rewarded with spectacular views of two of Colorado’s fourteeners: Grays and Torreys Peak.
The 5.2 mile round-trip trail steeply gains 1,200 feet starting at 10,268 feet. Plan between three and five hours to finish the hike. Also keep in mind there is moderate avalanche danger.
About Montezuma: The discovery of silver in the 1860’s put Montezuma on the map. At it’s peak nearly 1,000 people lived here and a businesses thrived. Today there are less than 100 residents but sees plenty of tourists anxious for the outdoors.