Spring Creek 
Maps:            
USGS 7.5' Map: Georgetown
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Difficult 9 FR712.2J, .2H 5.90 8,120 to 11,090 ft. Rock outcrops
Rock garden
5-6 hour
County: Clear Creek
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Arapaho/Roosevelt National Forest,
Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
(303)567-3000
Summary: Spring Creek climbs up a ridge west of Silver Creek, south out of Lawson, following old mine roads. It has many obstacles to navigate.
Attractions: Challenge, History, Mines
Seasonal
Closure:
Natural - Closed by heavy snows.
Best Time: June - May still be snowed in at top
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Possible early snows
Trail Heads
Accessed:
 
Camping:  
Base Camp: This would be a good place to base camp and explore the Saxon Mountain road, the Lamartine road, or the Cascade Creek road.
Fall Colors: Poor - Mostly pine forest.
Navigation: From I-70 at Downieville, CO take Exit 234 and go 0.1 miles. Turn right toward County Road 308 and go 85 feet. Turn left onto County Road 308 and go 1.1 miles. Turn left onto Alvarado Road and go 423 feet. Turn left onto the Silver City Road to start Spring Creek 4WD road.

From Georgetown, CO at the I-70 exit, head east 128 feet. At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit onto Argentine Street and go 1.4 miles. Continue onto Alvarado Road for 3.8 miles. Take a slight right onto Silver City Road to start Spring Creek 4WD road.
History: The town of Mill City sat below the mines of Red Elephant Hill on the north and Silver Creek on the south. Before the 1864 collapse the town had prospered. When the railroad arrived on its way to Georgetown, the community organizers asked the Post Office Department to reinstate the post office. Because another Mill City existed elsewhere, the Post Office Department required a different name, and residents chose Dumont for pioneer and founder John Dumont in 1880.

Prior to this new town name, in 1877, prospectors moved from Red Elephant Hill, crossed the valley to Columbian Mountain on the south side of the valley. They found several rich gold and silver veins and and began developing them. Diamond Joe, Gilbert, and James M. Daily quickly purchased the most promising group of claims, renamed them as the Diamond Joe, and developed them through the Daily Tunnel. William Moore, loosely associated with Diamond Joe, organized the Moore Mining & Smelting Company in 1880 and did well with the Murray. Just like the mines on Red Elephant Hill, the mines on the south side were within walking distance from Dumont. Some of the prospectors and miners established their own camp up on the mountain. One group lived in a cluster of cabins on upper Silver Creek and applied that name to their camp.

By the mid 1880's the mines around Dumont slowed production due to the high proportions silver, gold being the sought after metal. Dumont became relatively quiet and miners abandoned the camp of Silver Creek when most mines on Columbian Mountain closed.


Twitty, Eric Historic Context Interstate-70 Mountain Corridor Lafayette, Colorado: Mountain States Historical, 2014. Print.
Description:
The Spring Creek road begins off of a frontage road west of Lawson/Dumont/Downieville right next to I-70. The road follows the old route to Silver Creek where Silver City once was. After the second switchback the challenges begin. The first obstacle is a large rock slab that takes some work to get up.
At the first obstacle in 2004

photo by:
Adam M

First obstacle in 2009

photo by:
 

First obstacle in 2009

photo by:
 

Past this obstacle the road will split, the left being FR712.2H, which dead ends just past the Nabob Mine. The right will continue climbing the switchbacks on a ridge west of Silver Creek. All through these switchback there will be obstacles to navigate.
One of the switchbacks in 2009

photo by:
 

At one exposed section of the road you will have a nice view of I-70.
View of I-70 looking west in 2009

photo by:
 

The switchbacks will end as you reach the higher part of the ridge. This is where the Rock Garden is.
Rock Garden in 2004

photo by:
Adam M

Rock Garden in 2009

photo by:
 

This section of the road is full of large boulders and requires picking the right route through, depending on your vehicles capability. Once you get through the Rock Garden the road will continue through the trees with only mud holes to deal with. It will come to a large open area before intersecting with the Lamartine road. From this intersection you can head left to Idaho Springs, or right to the Saxon Mountain road that goes down to Georgetown.
Data updated - August 14, 2019      4WD Road driven - August 5, 2004      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2019