Colorado's Golden Opportunities
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Q. My niece wants to go gold panning in New Mexico. The trip would last three or four days, with a day or two of gold panning and the remainder of time horseback riding, swimming and other activities.
David Casella, Washington
A. New Mexico, known for silver and turquoise, didn't experience the same rush as its gold-digging neighbors in the West. To strike it rich, head north to Colorado, the state that nuggets built. "The mining of gold and other ores is really what jump-started the state," says Emily Schepis, international tourism representative for the Colorado Tourism Office. "It's Colorado's history."
In the 1800s, prospectors swarmed Colorado's hills for gold; today, the mountains still contain the precious metal, but, due to economic and environmental issues, the mines had to close. Then they reopened -- for tourists. The Mollie Kathleen Mine Tour (888-291-5689, http:/
Cripple Creek does not have gold panning, but various operations across the state do. In Breckenridge, the Country Boy Mine (970-453-4405, http:/
If you prefer to stay in one area and fan out for day trips, make Colorado Springs your home base. The Ghost Town Wild West Museum has gold panning, and Cripple Creek is only about 45 miles away. Garden of the Gods offers horseback riding, and you can swim in mineral waters at the Indian Springs Resort (303-989-6666, http:/
John Flood of Vienna has some suggestions for staying at the Club Med on Turks and Caicos [Chat Plus, May 13]. Flood, who has visited the Caribbean resort twice, writes: "Go snorkeling or scuba diving on the club's boats. They know the best spots and go there twice daily, plus night dives. The beach at the village is great, with lovely thatched-roof huts. The pool is the center of daytime activities, with music, dances and water aerobics. They have fitness programs including walks, aerobics, stretching and other classes, plus a fitness center."
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