20 Things To Do In Idaho Springs

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When thinking of Colorado, Idaho Springs doesn’t instantly come to mind but there are many things to do in Idaho Springs. The former mining town is where the Colorado Gold Rush started and has outdoor activities like hiking, skiing and rafting. There are, hot springs, amazing pizza and museums.

Idaho Springs is around 33 miles (53 km) west of Denver along the I-70. Most visitors pass through it on their way to the mountains. If you’d like to stay a couple of extra days and see what this Colorado city offers, here are some things to do in Idaho Springs.

Idaho Springs, Colorado

20 Things To Do In Idaho Springs

1- Hike To St Mary’s Glacier

idaho springs st marys glacier
Hiking St Mary’s glacier is one of the fun things to do in Idaho Springs.

Just outside Idaho Springs, you can start the hike to the beautiful St Mary’s Glacier.

There’s a lake, a glacier and spectacular snow-capped mountain views.

So, how to embark on this hike? Head up the Fall River Road, right to the top, and you’ll find a car park, where you’ll need to pay $5.

Along a rocky path, it’s less than a mile to the glacier, where you will find fantastic views of the mountains and lake.

St Mary’s Glacier’s parking area is at the top of Fall River Road.

2- Relax At Indian Hot Spring

The clue is in this city’s name, Idaho Springs, so it’s not surprising the city is home to a hot spring.

The hot springs’ geothermal caves were carved out in the early 1900s and have several therapeutic benefits.

These hot springs are the perfect places to relax, particularly after a day of hiking or exploring the mountains.

Step inside and you’ll be immediately transported to a relaxing tropical paradise with banana trees surrounding the turquoise water.

Indian Hot Spring is at 302 Soda Creek Rd, Idaho Springs.

3- Drive The Mount Evans Scenic Byway

things to do in idaho springs mt evans
One of the most popular things to do in Idaho Springs is to drive the Mount Evans Scenic Byway for its stunning scenery.

The drive up to Mount Evans is the highest paved road in America.

The Mount Evans Scenic Byway is a spectacular and iconic Colorado driving route.

Switch back and forth as you drive for around two hours, reaching an elevation of 14,000 ft (4267 m), but leave enough time to stop on the way.

Notable pull-ins include Echo Lake Park, Summit Lake and Mount Goliath Natural Area.

4- Hike Mount Evans National Recreation Trail

fun things to do in idaho springs
Exploring the mountains is a fun thing to do in Idaho Springs for active travellers.

Mount Evans stands at 14,265 ft (4,348 m) tall, and while hiking to this summit might sound difficult, it’s a lot easier than you might think.

The Mount Evans National Recreation Trail offers a quick 0.17-mile climb to the summit (it’s the cheat’s way up).

Starting at the end of Mount Evans Road, you can quickly pop to the top and enjoy the spectacularly expansive views.

Because it’s a quick and easy trip to the top, it does get popular between June and September, so head up there early if you want the place more to yourself.

5- Hit The Trails Around Echo Lake Park

idaho springs snow-covered landscape
A scenic winter landscape in Idaho Springs.

Drive along the Mount Evans Scenic Byway and you’ll reach the beautiful Echo Lake Park.

Although you can see it on one of your stops along the Scenic Byway, it is also a great spot to put on the hiking boots and hit the trails.

There are a bunch of picnic benches, so be sure to bring lunch.

Besides picturesque views, you can also enjoy fishing on the lake and ogle at the snowcapped mountains.

Echo Lake Park is a popular Idaho Springs attraction, so head there early if you want some alone time with nature.

6- Go Rafting In Clear Creek Canyon

things to do in idaho springs two rafts navigating the rapids
Another of the popular things to do in Idaho Springs is to go whitewater rafting.

Isn’t it obligatory to do a white water rafting trip when visiting Colorado?

Launch yourself down the Clear Creek Canyon on a rafting adventure. Clear Creek Rafting offers daily rafting trips along the beautiful canyon.

Trips cater for a range of experiences, from beginners to seasoned rafting experts and their more challenging trips offer almost continual rapids.

While hurtling down the river, you might spot beavers, deer, bighorn sheep, bears or mountain lions.

Clear Creek Canyon is at 350 Whitewater Road, Idaho Springs.

7- Explore AGRO Mill and Tunnel

Idaho Springs is a gold mining area and part of Colorado’s Gold Country.

This striking landmark is a reminder of the industries and people from Idaho Springs’ past.

At the height of its use, the Agro Mill processed over $100 million of gold ore; that’s around 2.6 trillion dollars in today’s money.

Take a tour of this mill to learn more about gold mining processes and the local area.

A fun thing to do at Agro Mill is panning for gold.

Search for jewels and gems while learning about the traditional process in the heart of the gold rush country.

AGRO Mill and Tunnel is at 250 Riverside Drive, Idaho Springs.

8- Go Underground At Phoenix Gold Mine

Another of Idaho Springs’ famous gold mines is Phoenix Gold Mine, which is open all year round (unless the weather is very severe).

Take a 45-minute tour underground to see the tracks and machines used in the traditional gold mining process.

Remember to pack a jacket as temperatures are a cool 45F (7C).

Phoenix Gold Mine is at 800 Trail Creek Road, Idaho Springs.

9- Visit The Underhill Museum

This tiny museum is owned by the Idaho Springs historical Society and documents the life of former resident Dr James Underhill.

During the late 19th century, Underhill worked as a mining surveyor.

Underhill and his wife lived and worked in the museum you can see today.

You’ll notice two doors, one green and one maroon, one for business and one for personal calls.

Here you’ll learn a lot about Idaho Springs by viewing the local photos and artifacts that this well-known family kept.

Underhill Museum is at 1414 Miner Street, Idaho Springs.

10- Have A Drink At Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub

things to do in idaho springs (2) a handful of hops with a glass of beer wedged in a bag of hops
One of the things to do in Idaho Springs after an adventurous day in the mountains is to relax with a beer or a cocktail.

Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub is a fantastic place to relax and enjoy a locally brewed pint (or two).

The brewery has received over 100 medals for its lagers and ales.

The Palisade Peachwood Cream Ale and the Blood Orange IPA should be on your list of brews to try. If you do not want to drink, they have craft sodas too.

Tommyknocker Brewery & Pub is at 1401 Miner Street, Idaho Springs.

11- Go Skiing at Echo Mountain

idaho springs things to do town at the foot of the mountain
Looking for things to do in Idaho Springs? Check out these 20.

You can’t head to Colorado without hitting the mountains, whether for skiing or hiking.

The Echo Mountain ski resort is the closest ski resort to Denver and a popular Idaho Springs spot. Ski, snowboard, or tube your way down the mountains and enjoy the spectacular Colorado mountain views

Echo Mountain is at 19285 CO-103, Idaho Springs.

12- Fuel Up At Smokin’ Yard’s BBQ

things to do in idaho springs, co pulled pork dish in a black wooden serving tray
There are some great places to eat in Idaho Springs.

If you’re in Idaho Springs and love meat, you must visit Smoking Yard’s BBQ.

The Pulled Pork sandwich is mouthwateringly delicious and the meat is so tender it falls into your mouth.

Their menu isn’t huge, but what they do have is more than enough to give you some fuel after a day of exploring Idaho Springs.

Smokin’ Yard’s BBQ is at 2736 Colorado Boulevard, Idaho Springs.

13- Eat Pizza at Beau Jo’s

things to do in idaho springs colorado pizza
One of the things to do in Idaho Springs after an active day of hiking is to dig into a tasty pizza.

Who doesn’t love pizza? If you’re in Idaho Springs and fancy some of the best pizza in the city, head to Beau Jo’s.

Beau Jo’s is the original home of the Colorado-style pizza.

Choose a Mountain Pie-style pizza built high to support a plethora of toppings.

Their crusts are honey white or agave wheat, but they also offer a gluten-free pie or cauliflower pie crust.

Then pick from a vast array of meats, cheeses (including dairy-free mozzarella), sauces, and veggies.

If you can’t decide on building your own pizza, opt for a calzone or one of their classic pizzas.

As well as delicious pizzas and calzones, they also do sandwiches, pasta, salads and soups.

Beau Jo’s is at 1517 Miner Street, Idaho Springs.

14- Drink Local Beer At Westbound & Down Brewing Co.

From pizza to beer, it feels like a natural progression, right?

The Westbound & Down Brewing Company is the perfect place for liquor lovers.

Westbound has 18 beers on tap, so pick your favourite or choose a beer flight.

If you’re from out of state or overseas, opt for ‘The Coloradan’ for an authentic taste of the state.

They also have a variety of IPAs as well as stouts and Kölsch.

The brewery also serves up classic pub grub and their portion sizes are huge.

Make sure you try their burgers as they are stacked mouthwateringly high!

Westbound & Down Brewing Co. is at 1617 Miner Street, Idaho Springs.

15- Shop On Miner Street

Miner Street is the main Idaho Spring haunt and is impossible to miss.

Many of the places on this list of things to do in Idaho Springs are located along Miner Street and it’s also a hub of local chatter and day-to-day life.

Wander along Miner Street, pop into the shops and find some souvenirs from your Idaho Springs trip.

There are plenty of hippy clothing stores, skiing shops and knick-knack type stores.

16- Take A Photo Of Charlie Taylor Water Wheel And Waterfall

things to do idaho springs water wheel with American flags on a blue-sky day
Taking a photo of the Charlie Taylor Water Wheel is one of the things to do in Idaho Springs to prove you’ve been there.

This is a picturesque place in Idaho Springs with Bridal Veil Falls in the background behind the giant historic water wheel.

Take your time and stroll up to Bridal Veil Falls.

Starting at Harold Anderson Park, head under the Interstate 70 and in just a couple of minutes, you’ll reach a good viewing spot to see the falls.

The water wheel is steeped in history, having been built in the 1800s by local miner Charlie Taylor.

The wheel was used to drive a machine that ground rocks to produce silver and gold ore.

It’s a quick visit, but it is an iconic Idaho Springs landmark that you must see.

Charlie Taylor Water Wheel And Waterfall is at I-70, Idaho Springs.

17- Grab A Bite At The Vintage Moose

The Vintage Moose is a small red-bricked tavern that serves excellent food.

This place is down to earth and super friendly; you’ll almost certainly see habitual locals drinking at the bar.

It’s right across the road from the Charlie Taylor Water Wheel, so grab a quick bite at the Vintage Moose on your way back into town.

Enjoy a beer and be sure to try one of their famous pretzels.

The Vintage Moose is at 123 16th Avenue, Idaho Springs.

18- Eat Ice Cream At Sit N Chill

Another popular spot on Miner Street is Sit N Chill Ice Cream, a popular ice cream parlour.

This family-owned business serves up some delicious ice cream.

It’s the perfect treat if you’re visiting during summer or a rather daring treat if you’re there in winter.

There are a bunch of flavours to choose from, including the obligatory flavours of chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. But also chocolate peanut butter, mint choc chip, mango cream, cotton candy, mango sorbet, rocky road and cherry.

They even have seasonal pumpkin ice cream and their Sleepless In Seattle is perfect for coffee lovers.

As well as ice cream, they sell fudge, candy and toys for the little ones.

Sit N Chill Ice Cream is at 1501 Miner Street, Idaho Springs.

19- Hike Summit Lake Park

This somewhat hidden gem is an absolute must-do hike in Idaho Springs.

The best time to set out on a hike to Summit Lake is between March and October.

Summit Lake is an easy walk from the Summit Lake car park, and from there, you can see Chicago Lake.

The park is also a shining example of alpine tundra.

During summer, the park fills with wildflowers and some varieties found here have never been found outside the Arctic Circle.

20- Eat Steak At MTN Prime

Get a taste of Colorado at MTN Prime, a go-to Idaho Springs steakhouse serving classic American dishes.

MTN’s beef and bison steaks are from local Colorado family ranches.

They offer brunch, lunch, dinner and some delicious cocktails too.

Although you really must opt for steak (after all, it is a steakhouse), they serve some other dishes like Surf & Turf with Maine lobster, Bison Meatloaf and even Vegan Stir Fry.

Eat Steak At MTN Prime 1600 Miner Street, Idaho Springs.

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harriet comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!