Colorado – Capitol Peak and Ashcroft Ghost Town

My recent trip to Colorado in early October 2015 was turning out to be incredible. Breathtaking scenes of lofty mountains next to bright yellow aspens made this a photographer’s dream location.

Capitol Peak Through the Aspens
Capitol Peak Through the Aspens

 

But these gorgeous aspens have an interesting story. I learned that aspen trees grow in groups or ‘clonal colonies’ derived from a single seedling.  Also, a single tree can live for up to 150 years but the root system of the colony can live for thousands of years. They are able to survive forest fires because the roots are below the heat of the fire. (Wikipedia, Aspen trees)

Yellow Aspens
Yellow Aspens

 

One evening we traveled to a viewpoint to photograph Capitol Peak. Capitol Peak is a high mountain summit in the Elk Mountain range of the Rocky Mountains. In mountain-speak, it is a “fourteener”, a name which indicates that the mountain is over 14,000 feet in elevation. Capitol Peak is one of the most difficult of Colorado’s fourteeners to climb.

We watched as clouds came in and covered the mountain peak and we hoped that we would not lose visibility. But just as we thought we needed to pack up, the storm moved away from us. Storms are fleeting in the Colorado Mountains.

Capitol Peak in Clouds
Capitol Peak in Clouds

 

The following morning found us at the ghost town of Ashcroft, near Aspen. Buildings of the old Ashcroft still stand and one can explore for a fee. A sign in one of the buildings states that the town of Ashcroft was established early in 1880 as a mining town and it was a stage stop on the old Taylor Pass Toll Road.

Ashcroft Saloon
Ashcroft Saloon

 

Two prospectors, C.B. Culver and W.F. Coxhead founded the town in 1880 because they had found silver nearby.  By 1883, the town population had risen to around 2,000 and at this point the town was larger than Aspen. People were lured by the hope of finding silver.

Photographing Ashcroft
Photographing Ashcroft

 

In 1884 a rich ore strike was discovered in Aspen and that was the end of the prosperity in Ashcroft because people soon moved to Aspen. The town’s last resident died in 1939, making Ashcroft an official ghost town. (Wikipedia, Ashcroft, Colorado)

Double Doors
Double Doors

 

In the vicinity of Aspen, an old red barn made a wonderful fall scene with the changing leaves in the trees and blue sky. Photos are to be found everywhere in the outback of Colorado, especially in the fall.

Red Barn
Red Barn

 

Afternoon Shadows
Afternoon Shadows

 

We had two wonderful guides: Bart Baldwin and Jason Hatfield who managed to find some incredible scenes for us to photograph. (The trip was organized by PhotoEdVentures.)

My equipment: Nikon Camera, lens: 12-24mm and 24-70mm, B+W polarizer, Really Right Stuff Tripod.

One more blog from Colorado coming up, so don’t miss it!

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2 Replies to “Colorado – Capitol Peak and Ashcroft Ghost Town”

  1. The beautiful thing about these photos is that they are so true-to life that you can feel like
    you’re walking down the paths between the aspens! Great color and clarity!

  2. Phyllis,
    This is a place I’ve always wanted to see. Thanks for taking me there with your photos. Beautiful colors and a great narrative. Good job!
    Greg

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