|USGS 7.5' Map:||Montezuma|
|Managed by:||White River National Forest
Dillon Ranger District
|680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
|Summary:||Puru Creek is an easy road that follows the creek past the Pennsylvania Mine and ends at the Argentine Pass trailhead.|
|Attractions:||Scenery, History, Mining, Trailhead|
|Agency - November 23 to May 20|
June - Snow may still cover upper sections
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snow possible
|Argentine Pass, FT77 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Lenawee, FT34 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Peru Creek High, FT261.1 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Upper Peru Creek Road, FT9173 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Peruvian Mine, FT9174 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Horseshoe Basin, FT260.2B - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
|Camping:||There are a few dispersed campsites along the road.|
|Base Camp:||This would be a good area to base camp with Chihuahua Gulch FR263, Cinnamon Gulch FR262, and Warden Gulch FR265.|
|Fall Colors:||Poor - Mostly pine forest.|
|Navigation:||From Keystone, CO head east on US-6 E for 0.1 miles. Take the Montezuma Road exit and go 0.2 miles. Continue onto Montezuma Road for 4.4 miles. Turn left onto County Road 260 and go 1.9 miles. Continue on FR260, the Peru Creek road.
|History:||There was a town in Peru Creek that ended up having three names. After silver was discovered in Peru Creek, Stephen Decatur laid out Decatur in 1868. The town was never a very large. It was located along Peru Creek south of the Peruvian Mine. The town had a few stores, a hotel, and a post office. The children had a school between Decatur and Chihuahua, the neighboring community.
It is believed that Stephen Decatur was Stephen Decatur Bross, a professor in Poughkeepsie New York who "dissapeared" in the 1850s, leaving his wife and two children. By dropping his last name, he became Stephen Decatur and joined the U.S. Army to fight in the Mexican War. After the war he operated a ferry boat near Council Bluffs, Iowa. In 1857, in Ohmaha, Nebraska, a former pupil, David H. Moffat, recognized Stephen and notified his brother who was now lieutenant governor of Illinois. Lt. Governor William Bross, immediately headed to Omaha and recognized his brother. Stephen Decatur denied any relationship to the Governor. While living in Nebraska Stephen had married again and had three children. He also helped found the town of Decatur, Nebraska. In 1859 he got gold fever, and once again abandonded his family. Hearing of this, Lt. Governor Bross headed back to Nebraska to console Decatur's second wife. He explained his brothers previous family and abandondment. Stephen Decatur came to Colorado in 1859 and joined the Third Colorado Regiment, participating in the Sand Creek Massacre. He represented Summit County in the territorial legislature in 1867 and 1868. He was also one of the founders of the Georgetown and Snake River Wagon road in 1869 which built the wagon road over Argentine Pass. While in Georgetown Decatur developed and appetite for liquor which impoverished him. He drifted south to Rosita, Colorado and worked as a justice of the peace there. The US Government recognized his service during the war with Mexico and awarded Decatur a pension. He died alone in May of 1881, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Rosita Cemetary.
The town of Decatur was later renamed Rathbone when the Pennsylvania Mine was developed. The Pennsylvania Mine was discoved by J.M. Hall and initially developed in 1879. It produced gold, silver, lead, copper and zinc and had its biggest production year in 1893 when it shipped 7,000 tons of ore. The mine was developed on six levels, known as A, B, C, D, E and F with F being the lowest level. Adits were constructed at levels C and F. In the winter of 1898-1899 the heavy snows created avalanche conditions. Rathbone sat in a valley below Greys Peak, so when the spring thaw came a large avalanche wiped out the town. In the early 1900's new silver strikes created the demand for housing and the town of Rathbone was built back up again as Argentine. By 1907 the post office closed ending Argentine for good. The mine continued regular operations until 1908 and was then worked intermittently until the mid-1940s when it was abandoned. In 2006 an EPA project reclaimed and contained the heavy metals run off from the Pennsylvania.
The Shoe Basin Mine is closely associated with the Peruvian Mine located approximately 2,000 feet north of the Shoe Basin Mine. The Peruvian vein was discovered in 1874 and was mined until 1893 when the silver crash happened. Several cabins sprang up around the mine and was referred to as Peru. A swindle took place in Peru once. Gearge A. Thompson was hired by absentee mine owners to build a 100 foot tunnel into the mountain. Instead of tunneling into the mountain, Thompson and his men built snow sheds out from the mountain. The heavy winter snows piled up on the snow sheds blanketing them and the mountain. Thompson announced the project completed, at which time the owners inspected the work and paid Thompson. By the time the snow melt and exposed the swindle, Thompson was long gone.
The Peruvian Mine, located in 1874, was one of the larger producers along Peru Creek. After its boom it was inactive until 1914 when the Shoe Basin Mine adit was driven to connect with the Peruvian vein. The Shoe Basin Mine was only active for two years, and the workings between the two mines are reported to have collapsed by 1929. The vein was mined for gold, silver, copper, lead and zinc. There are two metal sheds that were built in the 1980's on the site, but no new mining occurred then.
Southworth, Dave Colorado Mining Camps Wild Horse Publishing, 1997. Print.
Wolle, Muriel Sibell Stampede to Timberline Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1949. Print.
Eberhart, Perry Colorado Ghost Towns and Mining Camps Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1959. Print.
Jessen, Kenneth Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volumn 1, 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: J.V. Publications, 1998. Print.
EPA Montezuma, CO - Region VIII Website - https://response.epa.gov/site/site_profile.aspx?site_id=8722
Summit County, Colorado Peru Creek Basin Brownfield Assessment Website - https://www.summitcountyco.gov/DocumentCenter/View/20234
|Starting where the Peru Creek road becomes a forest service road, past the private homes along the county road section, you will come to a right turn to the Warden Gulch, FR265, road. Just past this is a left turn to the Chihuahua Gulch, FR263, road. Stay on the main graded road to continue on Peru Creek. The road will follow Peru creek coming around the foot of Ruby Mountain into a more open area. At the foot of the talus slopes on your left are a few dipsersed campsites.
About a mile past the campsites you will come to an intersection. The right turn will take you to the parking area for the Pennsylvania Mill. The road continues beyond the parking area as Cinnamon Gulch, FR262, climbing to the upper workings.
Continue with the road to the left to stay on Peru Creek road. You will follow the creek as it flows past Ruby Mountain to your left and Decatur Mountain to your right. After a mile you will come to a large parking area just before the Shoe Mine tailings pile. This is the trail head for the Argenting Pass hiking trail as well as the other hiking trails in Horseshoe Basin. The road continues past the parking area but only goes as far as the Shoe Mine ore loading chute where there is a gate.
|Data updated - January 11, 2019 4WD Road driven - July 3, 2003 Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2019|