With the discovery of silver here in 1879, the town was laid out as a mining community in 1880. First named Castle Forks, the town was renamed Chloride and then Ashcroft. It was linked by stage to Buena Vista and Leadville and by telegraph line and wagon road to Aspen and Crested Butte. The mining community hailed Ashcroft as a boomtown in 1882. The railroads bypassed Ashcroft in 1887, making it a ghost town by 1900. A group of skiing enthusiasts acquired the townsite in 1937, and it was an early training area for 10th Mountain Ski Troops during W.W.II. Ashcroft became the home of Isabel and Stuart Mace and their Toklat sled dogs--"Yukon" to Hollywood's "Sgt. Preston." The last private owner of the property was Ted Ryan, a ski pioneer, who maintained the townsite as a cross-country skiing complex. In 1953 Ted Ryan deeded the townsite to the Forest Service. The site is currently maintained and preserved by the Aspen Historical Society and the National Forest, as a reminder of our mining heritage.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Once a thriving mining town with a population of over 5,000 people, Ashcroft has been reduced to a few dilapidated buildings surrounding the boardwalk
Directions from Aspen: To reach Ashcroft, drive west from Aspen on highway 82, turn left on Maroon Creek Road, and again left onto Castle Creek Road (Maroon Creek Road is located across from the Golf Course immediately outside of Aspen - the second signal light.). Ashcroft will be found approximately 11 miles up Castle Creek Road on the left. Ashcroft is maintained by the Aspen Historical Society under a "Special Use Permit" with the USDA, Forest Service.
Normal Summer Season:
June through September
(NOTE: The beauty of Castle Creek valley affords the opportunities to hike, climb, camp, fish, explore, botanize, etc.)
Late November through May
(NOTE: Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Castle Creek road closed above Ashcroft. Sleigh riding also possible.)