Pitkin rests at 9,242 feet, deep in the belly of the rugged Gunnison National Forest near Waunita Pass.
Visitors can explore remnants of the old quartz-mining days. In town, the historic Pitkin Hotel is open seasonally, while the Silver Plume General Store is a mainstay that provides groceries, dining at the adjoining Silver Plume Grill and its own lodging options. Travelers through the area can also stay overnight at cabins, lodges and campgrounds.
Four-wheel driving tours are especially popular in this mountain community near the Continental Divide. One of the area's most acclaimed roads is the historic Alpine Tunnel, which narrows at the Divide, making for a cliff-hugging lurch around a man-made terrace known as the Palisades. The historic district here, open in the summer only, encompasses 13 miles of the old Denver, South Park and Pacific rail bed from the town site of Quartz (Gunnison County) to Hancock (Chaffee County). To the north, interesting ghost towns dot popular 4x4 stretches on Tin Cup and Cottonwood passes.
Waunita Hot Springs Ranch is another attraction near Pitkin. The healing waters at Waunita, one of hundreds of area springs, were supposedly named after a Native American woman who cried tears that turned to hot springs when they hit the ground. Today the hot springs operate as a private dude ranch, complete with lodging and horseback riding.