Historic Jamestown, in the mountains to the west of Boulder, is one of the oldest mining camps in Colorado.
In its heyday, about 400 miners lived here, and one claim produced more than $5 million in gold and copper ore. However, the boom lasted only a few years before the town was deserted for a decade. Remnants of the mining town's hotels, dance halls and parlor houses are still present here, but the town's most visible elements are a series of restored cabins, now converted to year-round residences.
Present-day Jamestown is a quiet mountain community; steep canyon walls and thick forests surrounding the hamlet limit its growth. Make sure to stop by the Mercantile, the town's only spot for food and drinks and a great place to meet and converse with local residents, a mix of independent thinkers and artists. Then, walk the stone labyrinth maze in Elysian Park, where you can also stroll along the creek.
Visitors from neighboring towns are drawn to Jamestown's attractions, from trailheads lining nearby Lefthand and James canyons to the steep, paved roads popular with road bikers. Nearby Brainard Lake has hiking at the foot of craggy mountains, as well as fishing and picnicking. (Plan ahead: Advanced reservations are sometimes required to enter the Brainard Lake area.) Rugged, unpaved mining roads near Jamestown are perfect for popular four-wheel-driving adventures.