Rico, Colorado: Deep Mining History and Outdoor Fun


Rico, Colorado, a former silver mining town in Dolores County, is home to just over 200 residents. Despite its small size, Rico offers a wealth of outdoor activities, historical sites, and attractions that make it a hidden gem worth exploring.


  • Rico boasts a rich mining history, with many preserved historical sites and buildings.
  • The town is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, including the San Juan National Forest, offering diverse outdoor activities year-round.
  • Despite its small size, the town boasts quality restaurants and attractions for visitors to enjoy.

A Town Steeped in Mining History

Rico’s story began in the late 1800s when silver was discovered in the area, leading to a mining boom. The town quickly grew, with mines like the Enterprise, Atlantic Cable, and Rico-Aspen producing millions of dollars in silver ore. Today, many of these historical sites and buildings have been preserved, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience Rico’s mining heritage.

The Rico Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, includes several historic buildings like the Dey Building and the Rico Town Hall. Visitors can learn more about the history of the area at the Galloping Goose Historical Society in nearby Dolores, CO.

Natural Wonders and Outdoor Adventures

Situated in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, Rico is surrounded by the stunning San Juan National Forest. This pristine wilderness offers a variety of outdoor activities for all seasons.

In the summer, popular pursuits include hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and camping. The Dolores River, which runs through Rico, is a favorite spot for anglers looking to catch trout. Hikers can explore trails like the Ryman Creek Trail and the Burnett Creek Trail, which offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Winter brings its own set of adventures, with snowshoeing and cross-country skiing trails accessible from town. The nearby Telluride Ski Resort, just a 30-minute drive away, offers world-class downhill skiing and snowboarding.

Where to Stay and Dine

Rico offers a range of accommodations to suit various preferences and budgets. The Rico Mine Shaft Inn provides a unique and charming lodging experience. For those seeking modern amenities, vacation rentals and cabins are available throughout town.

When it comes to dining, Rico’s options may be limited, but they are full of character. The Enterprise Bar & Grill serves up burgers and pizza, while Fireweed Cafe offers locally sourced, vegetarian cuisine.

Preserving Rico’s Natural Beauty

Rico’s stunning natural surroundings are not only a draw for visitors but also a source of pride for the community. The town is committed to conservation efforts that protect its environment and wildlife.

The Rico Alpine Society, a local non-profit, works to preserve and restore the alpine ecosystem surrounding Rico. Visitors can support these efforts by practicing Leave No Trace principles and respecting wildlife.

The San Juan National Forest is home to diverse flora and fauna, including elk, deer, and black bears. The best spots for wildlife viewing are along the forest’s hiking trails and scenic drives.

Plan Your Rico Adventure

The best time to visit Rico depends on your interests. Summer is ideal for hiking, fishing, and attending local festivals, while winter is perfect for snow sports enthusiasts.

To reach Rico, visitors can fly into the Telluride Regional Airport or the Durango-La Plata County Airport, both within a 1-2 hour drive. Rental cars are recommended for exploring the area’s attractions.

When planning your trip, be sure to allow time for simply wandering Rico’s charming streets and soaking in the town’s laid-back atmosphere. Strike up a conversation with a friendly local, and you may just discover a hidden gem not found in any guidebook.


What are the top attractions in Rico, Colorado?

Top attractions include the Rico Historic District and the surrounding San Juan National Forest.

Can you recommend any hiking trails near Rico?

Popular hiking trails include the Ryman Creek Trail and the Burnett Creek Trail, both offering stunning mountain views.

Are there any historical sites in Rico that I can visit?

Yes, the Rico Historic District features several preserved buildings from the town’s mining era, such as the Rico Town Hall.

What are the best dining options in Rico?

While options are limited, local favorites include the Enterprise Bar & Grill and the Fireweed Cafe.


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.