Argentine Pass and Santiago Mine in Colorado

chartzilla

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Took a short day trip with a couple friends yesterday, thought I'd report back in case anyone else is interested in a relatively easy trail not far outside Denver.

There's a network of trails outside of Georgetown, CO right off of Guanella Pass, which is a paved road popular with hikers and campers. There are multiple ways you can get up to Argentine Pass but we took the route recommended on Trailsoffroad.com (https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/203-argentine-pass)

Overall the trail was mostly a rocky dirt road with two moderate rock obstacles once you got above treeline. Oddly the Trailsoffroad guide only mentions the easier of the two. Between waypoints 9 and 10 on the trail guide, there's a moderate rock obstacle that I'd recommend using a spotter on if you're not very experienced. I'm guessing the trail has washed out some since the guide was originally written.

Overall a great trail with some of the most amazing views I've seen offroading anywhere. I've attached some of the drone video we took at the top.

We also went a little off the trail guide to stop at the Santiago Mine on the way down. Its a pre WWII mining camp and the Forest Service has set up barriers around the old mill and has restored it to some extent. I attached some pictures of that as well. On the way back down you can take a left on Forest Service Road 248.1K near the old ruins of the Waldorf Mine and it'll take you up a little bit towards Santiago.

Overall we spent a good 4-5 hours taking our time exploring the area around Argentine Pass and Santiago Mine. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting to get out, see some mountains, and learn a little about Colorado's mining history.



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Very Nice. Does a F150 Raptor fits in the trail ?
 
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chartzilla

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Very Nice. Does a F150 Raptor fits in the trail ?
I think you could probably get a full size truck like an F150 up the trail. There are a couple switchbacks up near the top of the pass that are tight and would probably require a 4 or 5 point turn in a full size truck. I was able to use trail turn assist to avoid having to back up at all. I know the Tacoma behind me had a little trouble turning at the last switchback but he made it fine.
 

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Is it a through trail or have to go in and turn around back to start?
 

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chartzilla

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Is it a through trail or have to go in and turn around back to start?
It's an out and back trail for cars. The pass continues through to the Montezuma/Keystone area, but it's a hiking-only trail on the west side of the pass.
 

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Damn, you’re killing me…studied hard rock geology. One of the main reasons I brought a Bronco; historical mine exploration and dinosaur digs.
 
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Could I do it with my Black Diamond on my 32s?
 
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Could I do it with my Black Diamond on my 32s?
Yeah I'm sure you could. I just have the normal Badlands with 33" tires. And only used my rear locker. Might scrape on the first rock obstacle a little if you pick a bad line. I scraped a little on the way up but picked a better line on the way down and didn't scrape. But that's what the skid plates are for anyway 😀
 

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This is one of my favorite areas to explore outside of Denver, especially the end of September the Aspen leaves are great. There's one side trail that is rockier than the others and fun to take.
IMG_5748.JPG
There are actually two mines in the area, Waldorf and Santiago, Santiago is above Waldorf (not much left). Waldorf used to have one of the highest post office in the world. The top has a great view of Grays and Torreys peaks (14ers).
129-2990_STN.JPG



Could I do it with my Black Diamond on my 32s?
Yes, I've taken a stock Dodge Durango on 32's up and down this road numerous times.
 

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Took a short day trip with a couple friends yesterday, thought I'd report back in case anyone else is interested in a relatively easy trail not far outside Denver.

There's a network of trails outside of Georgetown, CO right off of Guanella Pass, which is a paved road popular with hikers and campers. There are multiple ways you can get up to Argentine Pass but we took the route recommended on Trailsoffroad.com (https://www.trailsoffroad.com/trails/203-argentine-pass)

Overall the trail was mostly a rocky dirt road with two moderate rock obstacles once you got above treeline. Oddly the Trailsoffroad guide only mentions the easier of the two. Between waypoints 9 and 10 on the trail guide, there's a moderate rock obstacle that I'd recommend using a spotter on if you're not very experienced. I'm guessing the trail has washed out some since the guide was originally written.

Overall a great trail with some of the most amazing views I've seen offroading anywhere. I've attached some of the drone video we took at the top.

We also went a little off the trail guide to stop at the Santiago Mine on the way down. Its a pre WWII mining camp and the Forest Service has set up barriers around the old mill and has restored it to some extent. I attached some pictures of that as well. On the way back down you can take a left on Forest Service Road 248.1K near the old ruins of the Waldorf Mine and it'll take you up a little bit towards Santiago.

Overall we spent a good 4-5 hours taking our time exploring the area around Argentine Pass and Santiago Mine. Would highly recommend to anyone wanting to get out, see some mountains, and learn a little about Colorado's mining history.



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20220716_124332.jpg
Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing. :love:

This brought back memories of a trip I made to the Carbonate Silver Mine (12,150 ft elevation) outside of Breckenridge almost 10 years ago. I was on my motorcycle and rode up to the mine with a few friends from the area. We took photos outside and also got a chance to explore inside the mine, which was really cool (both literally and figuratively).

Digital photographs were not near as crisp back then, but these will give you a sense of the similarities to your photos...

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I don't mean to detract from your thread. I just wanted to mention another potential mine in the area for you to visit. I don't know if the Carbonate Silver Mine is still open to visitors, but if you get an opportunity to visit, you might at least enjoy the scenery. 🗺

Thanks again for sharing your beautiful photos :love: and bringing back memories! 👍
 

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That's a fun trail! We did Argentine Pass a couple of years ago during All-4-Fun. The next day we did Santa Fe Peak trail, from Montezuma, I highly recommend that one too. That's one of the funnest shelf-roads with switchbacks I've done in that area. We were able to throw in Chihuahua Gulch that same day, made for a great day of wheeling with awesome scenery.
 
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chartzilla

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Beautiful photos! Thanks for sharing. :love:

This brought back memories of a trip I made to the Carbonate Silver Mine (12,150 ft elevation) outside of Breckenridge almost 10 years ago. I was on my motorcycle and rode up to the mine with a few friends from the area. We took photos outside and also got a chance to explore inside the mine, which was really cool (both literally and figuratively).

Digital photographs were not near as crisp back then, but these will give you a sense of the similarities to your photos...

MVC-523F.JPG

MVC-527F.JPG
MVC-528F.JPG
MVC-534F.JPG
MVC-539F.JPG
MVC-547F.JPG
MVC-555F.JPG


I don't mean to detract from your thread. I just wanted to mention another potential mine in the area for you to visit. I don't know if the Carbonate Silver Mine is still open to visitors, but if you get an opportunity to visit, you might at least enjoy the scenery. 🗺

Thanks again for sharing your beautiful photos :love: and bringing back memories! 👍
Wow that's really cool, I'm not aware of too many places you can still go inside of mines in Colorado anymore. Did you guys do some sort of official tour of the mine or was it just open?
 
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chartzilla

chartzilla

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That's a fun trail! We did Argentine Pass a couple of years ago during All-4-Fun. The next day we did Santa Fe Peak trail, from Montezuma, I highly recommend that one too. That's one of the funnest shelf-roads with switchbacks I've done in that area. We were able to throw in Chihuahua Gulch that same day, made for a great day of wheeling with awesome scenery.
Santa Fe Peak and Webster Pass are both on my list! We may go camp up near the Montezuma area later this summer and try to do both in a weekend.
 

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Wow that's really cool, I'm not aware of too many places you can still go inside of mines in Colorado anymore. Did you guys do some sort of official tour of the mine or was it just open?
I don't recall it being an official tour, but we obviously obtained hard hads and lights from someone. Maybe my friends brought them along? TBH, the details are hazy. I had to go back and review my photos just to remember the name of the mine and look up the location. Having said all that, my visit was almost ten years ago, so that kind of access may not be possible in today's era.
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