Nederland began its history as the mill site for silver ore from the rich mines at Caribou (now a ghost town five miles away), and during World War I, for tungsten ore from surrounding mines. Today it is better known as a stop on the way to outdoor recreation in the nearby Indian Peaks and the James Peak wilderness areas, as well as a center for shopping and dining along the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway.

It is also a base camp for Eldora Mountain Resort, just five miles away. Eldora is great for family skiing, with opportunities for snow boarding, as well as Nordic and alpine skiing. Backcountry snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are outstanding during the winter on the hiking trails.

The visitor center in the heart of town has complete information about nearby state and national parks, places to stay and eat, maps of the area, hiking destinations, campgrounds and wilderness area regulations and local events. Frozen Dead Guy Days in March, which salutes a Norwegian man who was cryogenically frozen after his death in the late 1980s with coffin races, a costumed polar plunge and other icy entertainment, is one of Nederland’s most popular events.

There are many opportunities for stream and lake fishing, mountain biking and camping, as well as day hikes and driving tours in the area. At the end of the day, visitors will find a comfortable motel room and a surprisingly wide variety of fine restaurants.

Many restaurants and coffee houses feature live music on the weekends, and shoppers will find clothing, antiques, jewelry, gifts, new and used books, outdoor and fishing supplies, as well as a full-service hardware store, pharmacy, florist, groceries and other retail services. Kids and adults love the Carousel of Happiness, a restored 1910 carousel featuring 56 hand-carved animals that waltz to the tunes of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ.

To learn about the city’s history, head to the Nederland Area Historical Society's Mining Museum, which shows visitors what life was like for miners and their families at the turn of the century. The Nederland Community Library is also an excellent source of local history materials and free Internet access.

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