by Fletcher McDonald

Nestled high in the Sawatch mountain range of Colorado lies a treasure, of sorts – a ghost town, St. Elmo, historic and marginally famous. St. Elmo is listed at an elevation of over 10,006 feet – rivaled by Alma, Colorado and Leadville, from the same state – although neither of those are classified as ghost towns.

The old post office.

A remnant of the gold rush in the late 1800s, St. Elmo was originally named Forest City, then renamed to St. Elmo by a resident reading a book with the same name. At its peak, three railroad lines ran through St. Elmo, and over sixty million dollars worth of gold was mined from the area.

That’s an 19th century sixty million dollars, not a 2018 sixty million. No idea what the inflation would be on that but I’m guessing once the mines dried up, no one stuck around St. Elmo to find out.

That’s why it’s a g-gh-ghost town!!! A historic ghost town.

These derelict buildings are bankrolled by the State Historical Fund.

St. Elmo is still inhabited, and the main source of revenue seems to be tourism. There is a saloon, but no real infrastructure present – not even a postmaster. We drove there through a winter storm from the Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort (more on that later!) and didn’t quite get a chance to explore the town, but did take some pictures.

As you can see, the town itself is well preserved. There a few nice touches – below in the window, barely visible is a flower pot and flowers.

If you’re in the area and you have a thing for ghost towns, take a look!




Danger, Tatiana. “St. Elmo’s Fire: The Tragic Story of America’s Most Enchanting Ghost Town.” Roadtrippers, 28 Oct. 1970,
“Fire Destroys Part of St. Elmo.” Colorado Central Magazine,
Legends of America,
“St. Elmo, Colorado.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 July 2018,,_Colorado.
“St. Elmo (Nathrop) – 2018 All You Need to Know Before You Go (with Photos).” TripAdvisor,

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