Masonic is located close to the Nevada border, 12 miles northeast of Bridgeport via a dirt road. It can also be visited by taking the back road into Bodie from the north. A short distance from Masonic on the dirt road to Bridgeport lies the Chemung Mine, where the remains of the mill still stand.
Travelers driving SUVs will have the easiest time getting to Crystal. The winding, steep 7-mile road out of Marble is a challenge to negotiate in good weather—don't even consider it otherwise. (In this town as in others, you will need to call in advance about road conditions if you decide to travel in the colder months. Roads can be muddy, unpaved and buried under drifts of snow.)
Over in St. Elmo, check out the Miner's Exchange general store, which caters to hundreds of visitors a day. St. Elmo is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in Colorado.
Located in the Rocky Mountains near Schofield Pass, southwest of Aspen, the site is not completely deserted—several cabins are still in use. Remains include the famous Sheep Mountain Tunnel Mill, which appeared on the cover of our May 2001 issue.
The road to Crystal outside nearby Marble is a rugged, one-lane track. When you get there, keep in mind that the mill property is privately owned. Crystal is very remote; there are no phone lines beyond Marble, but you'll find a tiny souvenir shop that's open during the summer months. For jeep tours of the area, call Crystal River Jeep Tours, 970-963-1991. Reservations are recommended. (620 West Park Street, Marble, Colorado 81623)
St. Elmo and Alley Belle Mine
Located up Chalk Creek Canyon about 15 miles southwest of Buena Vista, Colorado, the Alley Belle mine is about five miles south of St. Elmo. There you will find crumbling structures precariously perched on the side of a hill.
Update: On April 15, 2002, a fire in St. Elmo ghost town destroyed 6 buildings. Unfortunately, that was most of the town.
From Denver, Colorado, the trip is 155 miles and will take about three hours. Take Interstate 70 west 21 miles to Interstate 470 south and go 3 miles. Turn right on Highway 8 and drive south 2 miles to Highway 285. Turn right and drive southwest for about 115 miles. Take a right onto Highway 50, heading west, and continue on it for 11 miles into St. Elmo. St. Elmo General Store, P.O. Box 158, Nathrop, Colorado 81236; Telephone: 719-395-2117; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About two dozen adobe and wood frame buildings line Wall Street in the privately owned town of Chloride, located in the central-western part of the state.
Chloride's general store, the Pioneer (c. 1881-1923), was recently converted to a museum. The Pioneer and the other buildings are owned by Don and Dona Edmund; Telephone: 505-743-2736. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
Chloride, on Forest Road 226, is two miles southwest of Winston, located off State Highway 52. The owners ask that you drive only on the roadways.