St. Elmo, Colorado

Bike Ride: St. Elmo To Romley and Hancock Ghost Towns

Allie Belle Mine May 27, 2007 - This adventure was especially meaningful to me. I woke up exhausted, ravaged with allergies, a slightly sore lower back and on the grumpy side. It was Sunday morning and I didn't go to church (long story; I should have gone!), but at least I somehow managed to inspire myself with the idea of riding my mountain bike from St. Elmo to the ghost towns of Romley and Hancock.

At the beginning of the ride, my body was "screaming" to stop and turn around. It did not help either that I only had small handfuls of chocolate covered raisins and cajun sesame seeds for breakfast. Still, I hung in there and rested frequently by getting off the bike and snapping photos of the amazing mountain scenery. This was one of those days where I felt quite a sense of gratitude and fulfillment about completing the ride when riding back downhill towards St. Elmo!

The road (formerly the old railroad grade) from St. Elmo through Romley to Hancock is a great one. This stretch of road is one of the best areas to get a glimpse of the harsh and mountainous conditions miners worked and lived in during the historic western settlement era. Old mining structures and "mining scars" dot the very rugged landscape out there, and there is an eerieness to the fact that no human beings live there anymore. Once a bustling mining era, the region uphill from St. Elmo was completely abandoned sometime after the mining bust in the 1910's.

The weather was on the cloudy side, but I did my best to snap some basic photos of the scenery that way. Enjoy them! The remains of the Allie Belle Mine (adjacent photo) is a popular spot for visitors to pull out their cameras.

Lastly on another side note, if you have a myspace page, I would like to invite you to link up with the St. Elmo myspace page: Check it out!

All the best,
Steve :)

Photo Gallery

Hancock / Alpine Tunnel Sign The turnoff for Hancock is just east of St. Elmo on Chaffee County Road 162.
St. Elmo to Hancock St. Elmo to Hancock The weather is fairly cloudy which was frustrating from a photography standpoint. At the beginning of my ride, I snapped these two photos of the aspens barely turning green (which was hard on my allergies) and a great mountain view from the road.
Old Mining Structure The valley is dotted with many old mining structures like this one.
Romley, Colorado About halfway to Hancock is Romley, once a very busy mining area. The road detours around where the railroad crossed over a bridge. It's at this point that you'll see a turnoff to go north towards the Mary Murphy Mine area and Pomeroy Lake.
Romley Ghost Town Remains of a destroyed structure in Romley.
Allie Belle Mine Allie Belle Mine The Allie Belle Mine is right on this main road. I can't help but wonder when that structure will eventually collapse!
This structure caught my eye downhill from the road.
Colorado Jeep The people in that Jeep were very friendly. The road from St. Elmo to Hancock is very popular with ATV'ers and Jeep riders. Any basic vehicle can make it easily from St. Elmo to Romley, but at the bridge (photo #5 above), a basic 4-wheel drive vehicle is probably a good idea.
Snow I had snow to contend with as I approached Hancock, which I peddled right through! :)
Hancock Ghost Town
Sewanee Peak
Arrival in Hancock.
The original town and it's buildings all stood on the grassy area to the left in the top photo. After looking at my topographical map, the tall and unique peak is likely Sewanee Peak.
Hancock Ghost Town
Hancock Ghost Town
There is actually remains of one structure in Hancock, which was one of the saloons in town.
Hancock Ghost Town

Hancock, Colorado
An informational sign about the historic area.
Hancock Ghost Town Right in the heart of town of Hancock.

You can see my photos of Hancock from my first visit in September 2006 here: Hancock Ghost Town.

Alpine Tunnel Sign From Hancock, the old railroad continued just a few miles to the Alpine Tunnel, which traveled through the continental divide. Also, Hancock Lake, Hancock Pass and Williams Pass Road can be accessed from this area.
Hancock Ghost Town
Hancock To St. Elmo
Heading back to St. Elmo, I got a shot of the mountain view heading back from Hancock (top) and some light green shaded aspens (bottom).

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