Granite to Balltown - Hike on Railroad Tracks

A hike on vacant railroad tracks ...
July 19, 2014 - I wanted to do an easy hike and went from Granite to Balltown on the vacant railroad tracks. These are two little-known town on the Arkansas River that most people drive through without thinking about much. My outing was a six-mile walk round trip. The walking on rocks and planks was tough on my ankles and knees, but I did okay. :)

Arkansas River, CO
The beautiful view of the Arkansas River, railroad tracks and Mount Massive (far left) as I approached Balltown.

Photos and videos by Steve Garufi in Buena Vista, Colorado. Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - YouTube

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Granite, CO

Granite, Colorado


I began in the heart of Granite, a city that was once filled with miners in the late 1880s. It was also the county seat of Chaffee County before Buena Vista stole it away. The sweet justice came when Salida voted to move the county headquarters to their town!

TOP: This mountain has an American flag waving on top in the summer. One can also hike to the summit, which I did years ago. You can see my photos and information here: Here are my photos if you want to do an easy hike in Granite: Overlook Hill in Granite.

SECOND: Homes besides the railroad tracks.

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Railroad Tracks Trains have not run on the railroad tracks since the 1990s. The tracks are privately owned by a company in Denver.

Four years ago, I walked on the dormant railroad tracks from Granite to Salida and made a journal about it on

Arkansas River, CO The Arkansas River forms at the base of Fremont Pass, north of Leadville. It's a young and energetic river when it flows through Granite.
Railroad Tracks

White Flower Flower Railroad Tracks

Three photos of the railroad tracks. Two flowers included.

Mine Once a mining site.
Arkansas River, Colorado I love the composition of this image.

The railroad tracks, Arkansas River and Mount Massive in the distance on the left.

Arkansas River & Mount Elbert Two 14ers in view: Mount Elbert (left) and Mount Massive (right).
Twin Lakes, CO

Balltown, Colorado

Balltown, Colorado

Balltown is located where Highway 82 meets Highway 24 in southern Lake County. During Colorado's settlement days, this town was probably larger and more pivotal to the day's activities. Today there are only a handful of homes, rental cabins by Winmar Cabins and an empty storefront building. (It was once the home of the Balltown Lounge and a whitewater rafting company.)

The one thing I've heard about Balltown: it was once the site of a horrible train wreck that killed many people. I believe that happened in the early twentieth century. A woman who previously owned the Granite General Store ten years ago had a photo of the wreckage. If I can obtain that, I'll post a photo here.

Steve Garufi I relaxed in Balltown and then hiked back to Granite. It was an easy outing -- nothing like recent ascents of Mount Shavano or Peak 13078' -- but I got a workout in.


Just north of Granite

The Arkansas River

The Balltown Lounge

The bridge over the river in Balltown

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