Bagley/Frisco Mill - Alpine Loop, Colorado

March 10, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Bagley Mill-California GulchBagley Mill-California GulchThe remains of the Bagley Mill in California Gulch - San Juan Mountains, Colorado

The 75 mile Alpine Loop National Back Country Byway traces the paths created by Native Americans that were later carved into roads by prospectors and miners coming to the region in search of fortune. The entire area is dotted with the ruins of an aggressive effort to take gold and silver from the unforgiving mountains of the San Juans.

The skeletal remains of the Bagley/Frisco Mill sit in California Gulch, near Animas Forks, now a ghost town, that once supported 450 residents in the warmer months. The huge mill building was pre-fabricated, transported by the Silverton Northern Railroad, loaded into wagons and hauled to the site for assembly in the summer of 1912. The Bagley/Frisco is the last remaining large post and beam reduction mill in the area, most others lost to vandalism or scavenged for their beautiful weathered wood.

I traveled the Loop with friends in July of 2014, when the wildflowers were in full bloom. The mountains of Engineer and Cinnamon Pass are in the background.


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