Clear Creek County, Colorado: An Overview


Clear Creek County, Colorado, is a hidden gem settled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. This picturesque destination perfectly blends natural beauty, rich history, and exciting outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking a thrilling escape or a peaceful retreat, Clear Creek County has something for everyone.


  • Clear Creek County is a stunning mountain destination with a wide range of outdoor activities and cultural experiences.
  • Visitors can explore scenic drives like the Colorado River Headwaters Byway, hike beautiful trails, and engage in adventure sports like rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
  • The county boasts a rich mining history, charming historical towns, and unique local cuisine.

Destination Overview

Clear Creek County, Colorado, is a popular tourist destination known for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse attractions. The county is home to several iconic routes, including the Colorado River Headwaters Byway and the Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway (formerly Mount Evans), which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Visitors can also explore the county’s cultural highlights, such as the historic mining towns of Idaho Springs and Georgetown, and immerse themselves in the local arts and crafts scene.

Local Experiences and Culture

One of the best ways to experience Clear Creek County is through its authentic local experiences and rich cultural heritage. Visitors can sample delicious local cuisine at restaurants like Beau Jo’s Pizza in Idaho Springs, which is famous for its mountain pies. The county also hosts several cultural events throughout the year, such as the Georgetown Christmas Market and the Idaho Springs Dynamite Days, which celebrate the area’s mining history and community spirit.

Outdoor Adventures

Clear Creek County is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering a wide range of activities for all seasons. Hikers can explore numerous trails, including the challenging Mount Bierstadt and the family-friendly St. Mary’s Glacier. In the winter, skiers and snowboarders can hit the slopes at Loveland Ski Area and Winter Park or enjoy cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on the county’s many trails. The Colorado River Headwaters Byway and the Guanella Pass Scenic Byway provide stunning drives through the mountains, showcasing the area’s natural beauty. Clear Creek County’s elevation ranges from just under 7,000 feet all the way to 14,278 feet at the summit of Grays Peak, the highest on the Continental Divide.

Seasonal Attractions

Clear Creek County is a year-round destination, offering unique attractions and activities each season. Visitors can enjoy the fall foliage along the county’s scenic drives and hike trails like the Silver Dollar Lake Trail.

Winter brings opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and other snow sports, while summer is perfect for rafting on Clear Creek, fishing in the county’s many lakes and streams, and attending festivals like the Panning for Gold Festival in Idaho Springs. Destinations like Loveland Pass and Berthoud Pass offer adventure opportunities like summer hiking and winter skiing.

Historical Landmarks and Heritage

Clear Creek County has a rich mining history, which is reflected in its many historical landmarks and heritage sites. Visitors can explore the Argo Gold Mine and Mill in Idaho Springs, which offers tours of the historic mine and a chance to pan for gold. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is another popular attraction, taking passengers on a scenic journey through the mountains and past historic mining sites. The county also boasts several museums, such as the Underhill Museum in Idaho Springs, which showcases the area’s mining and pioneer history.

Family and Kid-Friendly Activities

Families visiting Clear Creek County will find plenty of kid-friendly activities and attractions. The county’s many parks and trails offer hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a hit with children, who will love the exciting train ride and the chance to learn about the area’s history. In the summer, families can enjoy rafting trips on Clear Creek, which offer a thrilling adventure for all ages.

Unique frisbee golf courses can be found throughout the county, including the Ghost Town Course in Central City, played in the ruins of an old Rocky Mountain mining town.

Adventure Sports and Recreation

Clear Creek County is a mecca for adventure sports enthusiasts, offering a range of thrilling activities. Rock climbers can test their skills on the county’s many crags and cliffs, while rafters can tackle the rapids on Clear Creek. Mountain bikers will find plenty of challenging trails, including the popular Alvarado Campground Trail and the Bakerville to Loveland Trail. For a unique experience, visitors can try their hand at gold panning in Idaho Springs or take a zip line tour through the mountains.

Accommodation and Dining

Clear Creek County offers a variety of accommodation options to suit every taste and budget. Visitors can choose from luxury resorts like the Ameristar Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk, cozy cabins in the mountains, or charming bed and breakfasts in the county’s historic towns. Dining options are equally diverse, ranging from casual cafes and brewpubs to fine dining restaurants. Local specialties include mountain pies, craft beers, and dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients.


What is the best time to visit Clear Creek County?

Clear Creek County is a year-round destination with unique attractions and activities in each season. Summer is popular for hiking, rafting, and festivals, while winter is ideal for skiing and snow sports. Fall offers stunning foliage, and spring is a great time for wildlife viewing and wildflower hikes.

What are some must-see attractions in Clear Creek County?

Some of the top attractions in Clear Creek County include the Mount Blue Sky Scenic Byway, the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Argo Gold Mine and Mill, and the St. Mary’s Glacier hike. Visitors should also explore the county’s historic mining towns, such as Idaho Springs and Georgetown, and sample the local cuisine and craft beers.

Are there any family-friendly activities in Clear Creek County?

Clear Creek County offers many family-friendly activities, such as hiking, picnicking, and viewing wildlife in the county’s parks and trails. The Georgetown Loop Railroad is a popular attraction for families, and rafting trips on Clear Creek are suitable for all ages. Families can enjoy sledding, snowshoeing, and other snow sports in the winter.

What adventure sports can I try in Clear Creek County?

Clear Creek County is a hub for adventure sports, offering activities like rock climbing, rafting, mountain biking, and zip lining. Visitors can also try their hand at gold panning in Idaho Springs or take a scenic drive along one of the county’s many byways.

What kind of accommodation options are available in Clear Creek County?

Clear Creek County offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts and casinos to cozy mountain cabins and charming bed and breakfasts. Visitors can choose the option that best suits their preferences and budget.


About the author

Ransom Patterson

My expertise in Colorado life extends beyond just residing here; it’s also about living actively within the community. I spend my time cycling through Denver’s trails, experimenting with local cuisines, and immersing myself in the local music scene. These activities give me a unique perspective on the cultural and outdoor offerings of Colorado. This hands-on approach allows me to provide insider tips and personal recommendations that resonate with both locals and visitors alike.