Rico Mine Shaft Inn
Stay at the Victorian-era Rico Mine Shaft Inn to tap into the rough-and-tumble spirit of Colorado’s 1800s silver boom. The tiny mountain town of Rico retains much of its Old West charm, plus the dramatic beauty of the San Juan National Forest and Dolores River. Hop over the pass to make it to nearby Telluride for skiing and cultural festivals in the high country.
Tucked into the jagged mountains of southwestern Colorado, this historic hotel and hostel may have hosted silver miners and Western transplants during its early days. Today, however, it welcomes intrepid adventurers who come to enjoy the area’s rich history and outdoor adventures. Choose from rooms with private or shared bathrooms and, in the morning, fill up on complimentary breakfast before you hit the trails.
What makes it special?
You’ll feel like a bona fide time traveler. With clawfoot bathtubs, antique furniture, twinkling chandeliers and ornate wallpaper, this hotel transports you to the frontier days of unruly saloons and legendary outlaws. Peek at some of the historic photographs for a glimpse into the way it was “back then.”
The most “Colorado” thing about this place
It’s the cool history, naturally. Rico was established in 1879, and the main stretch of downtown is lined with more-than-a-century-old storefronts and stone buildings. Even the hotel itself is over 140 years old. (It’s probably got a ghost story or two.)
Room with the best view
We’re going with Room 7. This double room is located on the “historical side” of the hotel with shared bathrooms, and it features peaceful views of the surrounding mountains.
Our favorite traveler review
“We loved this beautiful home away from home in Rico. It has charm, warmth and transports you in time — yet makes you feel comfortable. The room was beautifully decorated, spacious and the breakfasts were tasty and filling, the wood-fired stoves keep the place cozy, the whole place is quiet and the guest kitchen has all the amenities.” — PoorooP, Tripadvisor
Things to see & do nearby
This mountain town may not come with all the comforts of city livin’, but you sure won’t go hungry. Amble over to the historic Enterprise Bar & Grill for hand-tossed specialty pizzas and loaded-up burgers. Or order the tri-tip steak sandwich at Silver Creek food truck, which piles smoked Angus beef and whipped cream horseradish sauce inside a soft hoagie bun. In the morning, see if the seasonal Fireweed Cafe and Mercantile is open — you won’t want to miss their specialty coffee and cacao drinks, as well as healthy eats like house-baked granola and ever-changing frittatas.
As for outdoor excursions, take your pick. Try your luck fly-fishing on the Dolores River, where anglers reel in brown, brook and rainbow trout. Or trek through the San Juan National Forest on the Calico Trail, a moderate-to-difficult hike with incredible forest views.
Want the views without having to work up a sweat? Sightseers will find plenty of jaw-dropping scenery on the San Juan Skyway, a 236-mile scenic and historic byway that climbs through panoramic canyons — especially on the gloriously winding section known as “The Million Dollar Highway.” No matter where you go, the scenery is astonishing in every direction.
Photos courtesy of Rico Mine Shaft Inn