A drive over Cottonwood Pass and a visit to Tincup Colorado

Thursday (9/1) we decided would be a great day to drive over to an old mining town called Tincup we were told about during coffee in the clubhouse on Tuesday.

 To get over there we needed to drive over Cottonwood Pass (elevation 12,126 feet in the Swatch Mountain Range on 306 which eventually turned into 209.

 The road over is really pretty nice. It’s paved all the way to the summit where the Continental Divide is marked at the saddle point of Cottonwood Pass and then it’s a dirt road down the other side until it Tee’s at Taylor Park Reservoir. When we reached the TEE we turned left on 742 and drove a couple miles until we reached Taylor Park Trading Post and turned left again on 765 and followed our nose to Tincup.

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

Taken from the summit of Cottonwood Pass

The 1880 census shows the town with a population of 1,495 and it was incorporated that year as Virginia City but due to confusion with other towns of the same name the town was reincorporated as Tincup in 1882.

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 The area rocked as a mining town in the 1880’s and 1890’s but it was a tough place to live, the town marshall, Harry Rivers, was killed in a gunfight in 1882 and the next year Marshall Andy Jameson was shot to death to. And because of extreme conditions in the winter and danger of Indian attack, it took several years for Tincup to be established with year-round residents.

A road leading into Tincup

A road leading into Tincup

As the mine’s riches were slowly depleted the population of the town declined, the post office closed in 1918 and the last town election was held that same year.

The church in Tincup

The church in Tincup

Tincup

Tincup

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We were told that only 2 or 3 people live in the town year around and the most popular activity in the area is riding ATV’s. In fact the area is promoted by the state of Colorado as the best ATV area in the state. It seemed to us that most of the people that hang around the area stay in the Taylor Park section and ride from there.

 The first thing we did when we reached town was find the old cemetery at the edge of town.

The wooden walkway leading from the parking lot

The wooden walkway leading from the parking lot

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 In the cemetery there are four distinct knolls, one for the Jewish, Protestant, and Catholic religions, and a fourth knoll, Boot Hill, for nondenominational burials and violent deaths.

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A wooden walkway leading from one knoll to another

A wooden walkway leading from one knoll to another

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 T.L. Stormes of New York died on April 30, 1879, in Tin Cup Camp and was the first person buried in the Tin Cup Cemetery.

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Tell me you wouldn't be happy to be laid to rest in a spot like this.

Tell me you wouldn’t be happy to be laid to rest in a spot like this.

Many of the grave sites have no markers remaining and many are not readable.

Many of the grave sites have no markers remaining and many are not readable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We spent some time walking around checking out dates on the headstones that you could still read anything on and I’ll tell you what, I always told Diane that when I die I wanted her to spread my ashes along a specific highway that we rode numerous times on the motorcycle that I loved so much but after seeing this peaceful place with such great view I would almost change my mind.

 Anyway, here is a link to a great read about the Tincup cemetery if you care to take a look. http://cozine.com/1996-october/tincup-the-cemetery-of-four-knolls/

After our cemetery tour we drove into town for lunch at Frenchy’s Café that we heard so much about. Frenchy’s closes for the season on Labor Day so we were lucky and happy we made it before they closed down.

Kids can fish in the pond up front.

Kids can fish in the pond up front.

You can click on the picture to enlarge.

You can click on the picture to enlarge.

ATV's parked up front is a very common site I guess.

ATV’s parked up front is a very common site I guess.

 We split a Frenchy’s double cheeseburger and then each had a piece of pie alamode. Diane had a mixed berry and I had apple. Well we actually shared each and bother were very very good.

 Frenchy had a pretty good story but instead of typing it all out maybe you can click on the picture and read about him yourself.

 After our bellies were full we jumped in the truck and headed back over the mountain towards home. But before we made it home we took a little side trip to Cottonwood Lake to have a look.

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake

At 9,552 feet in elevation, the lake and area offer a multitude of outdoor activities including fishing, camping, kayaking, hiking and 4-wheeling in the summer, and snowmobiling, cross-county skiing, ice skating and ice fishing in the winter. Of course we have NO intention to check out the ice skating and ice fishing.

Cottonwood Lake

Cottonwood Lake

Another great day touring the area.

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6 Responses to A drive over Cottonwood Pass and a visit to Tincup Colorado

  1. Ray Reimann says:

    Wow, what an awesome looking area.

  2. Janet Dugan says:

    We just returned from TinCup. My husband’s family has had a cabin there for years and we even lived there year around for a couple years after we were married in 1975. His family operated a small sawmill on the edge of town and built several of the newer cabins in the area. This last visit, we camped in our small motorhome on the property and enjoyed some ATV riding. In some ways, the town hasn’t changed much in 41 years, but it is much busier now with all the ATV’s. Many of the roads that we used to enjoy “jeeping” are now nearly impassable unless on a 4-wheeler or motorcycle. Now that we’ve retired, we hope to spend more time in the summers there so perhaps our paths will cross one day! Glad that you enjoyed your visit!

  3. Kansans says:

    That is beautiful and peaceful, but can you imagine much better how heaven will be?! 🙂

  4. colibabas says:

    Looks like an awesome area. Love those areas with interesting history. We’ll have to keep this area in mind for ATVing.

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