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24 Hours in Georgetown, Colorado

Sitting right off I-70, Georgetown is as historic as it is both quirky and quaint. A former silver mining town established in the middle of the 19th century, it may have a population of just around 1,000 people, but because it is such a popular spot, on any given day, especially in summer and autumn, it will be bustling.


For coffee and breakfast on the go, Georgetown Coffee and Tea on Sixth Street is a good choice. Then head straight to the Georgetown Loop Railroad for a leisurely ride on the narrow gauge steam train. It’s worth riding the narrow gauge at this time of year for the scenery alone, but those interested in history will also enjoy the commentary that tells the story of mining in Georgetown and how it became known as the “Silver Queen of the Rockies.” (Unfortunately, silver mine tours and gold panning are only available until the end of September). The ride lasts just under an hour, but all of the train cars are open air with no heat, so be sure to dress accordingly. There are two departure points, one just outside town and the other a few minutes down I-70 in Silver Plume, so be sure to go the right one!


Head back to town for lunch at The Happy Cooker on Sixth Street. Family-owned and operated, it is popular thanks to its down-to-earth menu of dishes. After skipping breakfast, we opted for the meatloaf sandwich with a side of green chili. The menu also has other breakfast and lunch classics including benedicts, biscuits and burritos. The Happy Cooker also has a patio for bright and sunny autumn days.


Across the street from the Happy Cooker is the incredible Hotel de Paris. Dating back to the silver mining boom, the hotel was opened by Renaissance man and fugitive Louis Dupuy as a first-class French restaurant, showroom for traveling salesmen and luxurious hotel during the Gilded Age. Dupuy’s story is utterly fascinating and tours give great insight into the man himself and how he opened such a magnificent hotel in the Rockies. The museum is open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday until Sept. 28th and then on weekends until it closes for the season on Dec. 13th. There are five tours each day.


After a quick change into some sportier attire, head to the north end of town and Georgetown Lake. For a gentle stroll, the Tom Bennhoff Lake Trail is just over 1.5 miles and loops around the lake. The short Purdy and Dunbarton connector trails on the backside of the trail provide access to Silver Creek Trail if you’re looking for something more strenuous at 4.6 miles one way with almost 1,800 feet of elevation gain. Whichever hike you do, get a beer afterwards at Cabin Creek Brewery which just opened this past spring. Sitting pretty much on the lagoon next to the lake, the brewery has lots of outdoor seating and is the perfect spot for an autumn ale! With a good range of rotating and seasonal beers, Cabin Creek also has a full kitchen with artisan, burgers, sandwiches and salads etc. Georgetown’s other (and first) brewery, Guanella Pass Brewery is in town.


Georgetown is very quaint, and Sixth Street is arguably the quaintest. The two blocks on Sixth between Taos and Argentine streets are great for strolling and window shopping with shops like the Georgetown Village Candy Co, Buckskin Trading Co, Stonhenge, the Georgetown Jerky Emporium (which makes for a great snack while hiking) as well as the visitors’ center and a few galleries. Then there is Shoppe International which is a year-round Christmas shop. At this time of the year it doesn’t seem that strange, but in June you may have to question the sanity of anyone shopping there, although they do also sell home decor as well as glass, fabrics and jewelry.


Head to Cooper’s on the Creek for dinner. Serving elevated pub food, we started with the duck pot pie, which looked inviting thanks to the golden flaky pastry. The filling - duck carrots, peas, onion, mushrooms, potato - was fall in a pie. That was followed by a hearty, creamy and cheesy gnocchi with shrimp. The steak with potatoes (cooked in duck fat) and mushrooms with a rich demi-glace was also a perfect fall dish. The meal was wrapped up with a creme brulee, which was easily enough for two or even three. Suffice it to say, diners at Coopers this fall are going to leave very satisfied. There is also a daily happy hour between 3pm - 6pm, and if it’s warm enough, try to get a table outside where you can see and hear the creek.


You can fit in a hike if you get up early enough on your day of departure, but with more restaurants to try and options for paddle boarding on the lake and lots of other hikes, you could stay at least another day here. Either way, an early morning hike up on the summit of Guanella Pass is a must. There is a short interpretive trail at the Guanella Pass summit and from the same parking lot is the trailhead for Square Top trail which leads to two alpine lakes. The trail is about 4.5 miles round trip. Get up early enough and you can get back to Rose Street BnB before breakfast which is served at your leisure.

If you aren’t up for a hike or the weather is inclement, drive along Guanella Pass Scenic Byway instead. You may see mule deer or bighorn sheep as you pass through spruce, lodgepole pine and aspen forests. The entire byway is 22 miles and should take around an hour.


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