The term “ghost town” normally conjures mental images of Scooby-Doo mysteries and campy reality show series based around investigating “haunted” hotels. But beyond being the setting for many a crime-solving canine adventure, ghost towns also provide travelers with the opportunity to experience some of the best backcountry exploration the country has to offer.
That above video comes from the Pine Creek Cookhouse, which runs the Ashcroft Ski Touring company out of Ashcroft, Colorado. Ashcroft is an old mining town in the Centenniel State that, at one point, sported a population of 2,000 people until it went the way of the dinosaur in 1882. Now, instead of housing miners, Ashcroft plays home to incredible fly-fishing and hunting during the summer months, and world-class Nordic skiing during the winter months:
And the beauty of Ashcroft is that, unlike what you might think of when you hear “backcountry tours”, you don’t need to go on a weeklong hike to get to it. In fact, like many ghost towns in Colorado, Ashcroft isn’t far from civilization — it’s just a stone’s throw from Aspen, meaning you’ll never have to worry about being too far from the amenities that you’ve come to love living in the 21st century.
In addition to things like running water and connectivity, that proximity also means your “backcountry adventure” won’t include you scavenging for food lost in the wilderness: the Pine Creek Cookhouse allows you to take in fine dining with a view while still removed from the crazy crowds of Aspen’s main village.
And Pine Creek isn’t alone in that distinction.
Historic ranches like the T-Lazy-7 Ranch offer visitors the chance to experience scenic horseback and snowmobile tours while other tour guides like the Aspen Outfitting Company give you the opportunity to go hunting or clay shooting in the backcountry without having to go all Bear Grylls in the middle of nowhere.
Plus, while some might find it a bit nerdy, it’s cool to be able to do all of this in areas that sorta resemble some sort of post apocalyptic version of the U.S. Nordic skiing and fly-fishing next to abandoned barns and school houses that have some sort of backstory and played an integral role in the western expansion of the country gives the whole experience a sort of historical feeling.
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