5 Ways To Experience The Old West Today

Central City, Mining Town, Historic City,
Photo Courtesy of Jasperdo, Via Flickr

The American West is synonymous with Colorado. Cowboys from all over came looking for their destiny in the shape of gold. With so much of Colorado’s identity built on the West’s ideals, you would think there are countless ways to interact with and experience its history. But with the modernization of Denver and the state as a whole, it is becoming harder to get a glimpse of what used to be. Luckily, 303 Magazine gathered a list of some of the best places to go to get a classic rootin’ tootin’ western adventure in the Centennial state. 

Buffalo Bill’s Grave

Buffalo Bill, Buffalo Bill's Wild West
A poster for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Touring Show. Photo courtesy of Buffalo Bill Museum.

Location: 987 1/2 Lookout Mountain Rd, Golden

The Lowdown: William Frederick Cody, also known as Buffalo Bill was a buffalo hunter, soldier and entertainer and one of the most famous men in the world in the later 1800s. While his legacy is questionable with his depiction of Native Americans as savages, as well as participating in decimating the bison population, his show “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West” heavily shaped how the rest of the country and Europe thought about the American West. In 1917, he passed away in Colorado and his grave still stands on Lookout Mountain in Golden Colorado. People can visit his grave as well as enjoy the Buffalo Bill Museum, which is home to artifacts and stories from Buffalo Bill’s life in the West. Sitting Bull’s bow and arrow are also on display.

Visit Historic Western Mining Towns

Ouray, Ouray Colorado
Ouray, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Visit Ouray.

Location: Leadville, Cripple Creek, Creed, Ouray, Central City

The Lowdown: There are so many towns in the mountains of Colorado that can directly attribute their growth to the miners of gold and other precious minerals. Leadville, Cripple Creek, Creed, Ouray and the ever charming Central City are all fantastic places to go to get some Old West vibes. Each historic town is filled with historic buildings, museums, Western-themed shops and restaurants, and breathtaking views. Being in the historic districts of any of these towns will surely scratch that cowboy-shaped itch.

The Wild West Ghost Town Museum

Wild West Ghost Town Museum
Inside the Wild West Ghost Town Museum. Photo courtesy of Wild West Ghost Town Museum.

Location: 400 S 21st St, Colorado Springs

The Lowdown: While the real gold-mining cities have modernized with the times, the Wild West Ghost Town Museum is dedicated to delivering a true Western ghost town to modern audiences. After the gold mines dried up, many towns became abandoned by their inhabitants. The Ghost Town Museum is dedicated to preserving those buildings that were left behind so people can get an authentic experience like gold panning in the summer. The museum also has activities to simulate life back then, as well as a gift shop to commemorate the trip.

Visit the ARGO Mill And Tunnel

Argo Mill and Tunnel,
Photo courtesy of ARGO Mill

Location: 2350 Riverside Dr, Idaho Springs

The Lowdown: If you travel west from Denver into the rocky mountains, You will inevitably drive past the ARGO Mill located in Idaho Springs. While the mine is no longer operational, they do offer guided tours through the mill where you learn all about the mill, as well as the history of gold mining in the area. Gold helped shape the west, and the Argo Mill and Tunnel is one of the best that the state has to offer.

Go To A Rodeo

National Western Stock Show,
Photo courtesy of National Western Stock Show

Location: 4655 Humboldt St, Denver

The Lowdown: The National Western Stock Show is one of the largest agricultural events in the nation that takes place each January with the next one occurring from January 7 to 22. The National Western Stock Show has some incredible rodeo events to watch that will surely get one into the spirit of the cowboy. Founded in 1906, the event is nationally recognized as a western heritage event. The event draws in 700,000 attendees each year, making it one of the largest tourist events in the state. The show also features one of the largest horse shows in the country. If your need for bucking broncos and bull riders can not wait until January, there are various other rodeos located throughout the state to tide you over. The Colorado State Fair in Pueblo ran from August 26 to September 5 and is also home to a rodeo as well as live music, family-friendly events and food and drink competitions.

Discover more from 303 Magazine

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading