Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Silver Plume Griffin Memorial Hike Mega-Post

Yesterday I went up to Silver Plume, Colorado for one of my favorite near-Denver hikes. The hike itself is littered with debris from old mines and weaves its way above the town of Silver Plume through several aspen groves, a gulch full of avalanche damage, and over some rocky slopes. As I've mentioned before, there is not a whole lot of info on this hike online and the maps (via Hiking Colorado's Summit County -screen-caps here and here) can be a little difficult to follow. I took photos of the monuments along the way so you can follow along when you visit...

This photo combines the whole trail into one image -which would be easier to print:

I'll walk you through the trial one photo at a time - starting here along the Main St. in Silver Plume. At the end of the street you'll see a white building that says "Bakery" - the Sopp & Trusket. I'd highly recommend getting some baked goods there before or after your hike. Any time I'm near Silver Plume I pick up a loaf of bread there. At one of the few stop signs in town you'll see this green garage across the street from a antique store. Take the road up the hill towards the trailhead.

This way:
At the top of the hill you'll see this sign for the 7:30 Mine Road -named after the mine that Clifford Griffin worked at in the 1800s. Follow the road to the right (east) -uphill.
Here's a photo of the trail at that point:
Not far up the hill there is a split -one trail cuts back to the left towards town and the other continues uphill. Keep going straight ahead (uphill).
Here's the view of Silver Plume and I-70 at this point in the hike:
Farther along you'll see a couple of telephone poles and some mining remnants -you'll follow the trail up and to the right (away from the poles):
A cairn along the way:
Another cairn:
You will then come upon a large gulch of avalance debris - you will walk through the fallen trees uphill towards the trail entering a more wooded area. This is a photo taken in the middle of the gulch -looking downhill.
The trail at this point was a little snowy but in the summer there is a nice stream wandering along the trail. It can get a little muddy here:
You'll cross over these mining cables a couple times as you zig-zag up the mountain:
This is a good spot to stop for a food or water break (watch out for nails on the ground):
More mining debris along the trail:
Another shot of the mining cables crossing the trial farther up:
The trial gets rockier here and pretty narrow in parts:
You'll pass this cave/mine shaft/hole. I've dared myself and friends to go into it, but we're all too chicken.
There are a few grated mine shafts at this point:
Another cairn:
When you see this grate you will take the trail to the left - to the out-cropping where the memorial resides:
It can be a little hard to see for a minute, but as you go down the trail (not far) you can't miss the large granite monument:
The Clifford Griffin memorial above Silver Plume, Colorado:

Clifford Griffin
Son of Alfred Griffin ESQ. of
Brand Hall, Shropshire, England
Born July 2, 1847
Died June 19, 1887
And in Consideration of his Own Request
Buried Near This Spot

The back-story is that Griffin ran the Seven Thirty Mine with his brother on Silver Plume Mountain in the 1880s. Legend has it that his fiancee died the day before their wedding and to escape his grief he joined the Colorado gold/silver rush in Silver Plume, CO. Some say that he lived in a cabin up there and played the violin every night to an appreciative audience in the town of Silver Plume below. The story ends tragically when he takes his own life in a grave of his own making after playing his last notes on violin.

There's a huge monument to him on a moderate hike above Silver Plume (about an 60-90 minutes each way) - an easy day trip from Denver.


liza said...

Thanks again for this. I remember your trek last year. I like this year's detail. Eddie and I went on the mine tour off the train ride... we made it about 20 feet in and chickened out. Even on a guided tour. I'm claustrophobic and he's scared of the dark.

Nathan said...

no problem. the post is pretty heavy on the photos but the trail is not well marked and I thought it might help someone find the spot a little easier. I haven't been on the mine tour yet (you're talking about the Georgetown one I assume). Being claustrophobic and afraid of the dark is a bad combo for a mine tour!

liza said...

Sure is! we couldn't have bailed much faster than we did!

Anonymous said...

Hey we did this hike today and looked up who was griffin after we saw the memorial and found your post. Thanks for the info

Chris and Lisa

Anonymous said...

If you stop in the Musuem in Silver Plume, they will show you some old newspaper clippings about this.

The Musuem is on Main Street in the old school building on the opposite end of town from the bakery.


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