Created as a result of George Andrew Jackson’s discovery of gold on January 7, 1859, Clear Creek County is one of the original 17 designated state counties and one of the three counties in the state with its original boundaries still intact. In April 1859, groups of miners flocked to the area which was first known as Jackson’s Diggings, Sacramento City and Idahoe. In June of 1859, the area was formally organized, the first recorded in Colorado history. At that time, 400 people lived in the settlement. It later became known as Idaho Springs.
As more miners continued to move into the area, the prospecting moved west, following Clear Creek which runs most of the length of the county. Eventually the towns of Dumont, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown and Silver Plume were established. In 1867, the Colorado Legislature called a special election and the county seat was moved from Idaho Springs to Georgetown. Today Clear Creek is a diverse destination where visitors can step back in time, wander the historic mining towns, explore museums and gold mines, and enjoy a wide range of outdoor activities.
Weather in Clear Creek County is fairly moderate and can vary drastically depending on where you are. In summer, the day temperature ranges from 60-80 degrees with an average of 300 days of sunshine. In winter, the day temperature ranges from 20-45 degrees with an average snowfall ranging from 70 inches in lower lying areas to 400 inches at Loveland Ski Resort.
Spring/Summer: It’s high season in Colorado, which means it’s time to get outdoors and recreate! Clear Creek County is a virtual outdoor playground with a multitude of recreational opportunities as well as attractions.
Visitors can explore hundreds of hiking and biking trails; cast a line and fish; climb a 14,000-ft peak; ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad®, an authentic narrow gauge train that runs between Georgetown and Silver Plume; zipline across or raft Clear Creek; discover gold while panning at a real mine; explore historic mining towns; take in stunning views while driving along a national scenic byway; or simply camp out with the family!
Fall: When the aspens turn from green to shimmering gold it’s a great time for a hike, ATV ride or horseback ride in the mountains. Visitors can take in the fall foliage with a ride on the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad or drive along a scenic byway. It’s also hunting season. Whether hunting with a rifle or bow visitors can search for big game such as elk, deer and small games such as turkey, Ptarmigan and Grouse.
Winter: As the snow begins to fall and blanket the Rocky Mountains, Colorado’s arid climate produces some of the world’s best powder for snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, sledding, ice-fishing, ATVing, hot springs, and nature viewing.
Clear Creek County is home to one of the oldest ski areas in Colorado, Loveland Ski area and one of the newest, Echo Mountain. Visitors can experience all types of skiing (from downhill, and cross-country to snowboarding and telemark); explore high-country trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing; ice-fish on Georgetown Lake or simply relax in the hot springs at Indian Hot Springs.