Ghost Town of Tomboy

The Ghost Town of Tomboy is a real ghost town. But, in the mining days, in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the town of Tomboy, Colorado was booming.

In its day, some 900 people lived there and worked there. Though the town went bust in 1927 when the ore ran out, you can still venture up the road and see the remnants of what went on there — that is if you’re brave enough. The road is not for the faint of heart. It’s located above Telluride, one mile up the Imogene Pass road. You’ll need a four-wheel drive to make the ascent, as well as all of your faculties and senses. There are switchbacks, cliffs and sometimes falling rock on Imogene Pass, the second highest pass in the state.

Guided jeep tours are available out of Telluride, and if you’d like to leave the roads to the experts, your eyes will have the opportunity to take in the incredible scenery that leads the way up to the town of what was Tomboy. Or, if you’re a strong hiker, and have the ability and lung capacity to walk it, you should. In fact, there is an annual foot race on this road every September, the Imogene Pass Run.

However you get up, make sure it’s a bluebird day. Clear weather will make the difference. Waterfalls, raspberry bushes (yes, you can eat them, but save some for the bears), and wildlife, including pica, marmots and birds are present all the way. Remember, access to Tomboy is limited. Summer is in the only time to go. Winter will be impossible, and the spring’s rain and mud make for not-so-easy travel. Once you make it up, Tomboy will not disappoint. Many of the tumbled down shakes still remain. Believe it or not, restaurants, bars, a post office and even a bowling alley were all part of the Tomboy town in the days of the wild West.

Climbing into or on any of these structures is not advised and can be dangerous. Also dangerous are any mine shafts. They should be completely avoided. The terrain is rocky, so if you are going to step out and look around, solid shoes are important. So are sunglasses at this elevation. The air is thinner and cooler, so jackets and water are recommended. It’s a piece of local history. Between the Covers bookstore in Telluride sells many books on the subject, one, Tomboy Bride, is also available online at Amazon. It’s the story of one woman’s life living high in the San Juans in the rowdy days of mining.

So, once you’re there, and have arrived at Tomboy, then what? After checking it out, you have a few options. You could turn around and make the same trip as a descent. Or, you could continue the Imogene Pass road. It’s 18 miles long and will land you in Ouray, Colorado. Once there, check out the hot springs. While soaking your bones, congratulate yourself on checking out a piece of local history. Then, take the 550 back to 62 and 145 to find yourself right back in Telluride.