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Colorado Ghost Town...Como a town lost in time

Updated on December 1, 2015

Como Colorado

A markerComo Colorado -
Como, CO 80432, USA
get directions

North of Como just off the Highway 285 in South Park

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Visiting Ghost Towns

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Denver to Como Colorado

Take Highway South 285 for 74 miles

Turn sharp right onto Silver Heels Ranch Rd. for 1 mile

Welcome to Como Colorado

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Photo taken north of Como along Highway 285

Driving along Highway 285 in South Park is stunning any time of the year, above is an example of some of the beautiful scenery.

Brief history of Como Colorado

Como was founded in 1871 by Italian coal miners that were working at the King Coal Mine just south of present day Como. The homesick Italian coal miners decided to name the town after Italy's Lake Como. Almost a decade later the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad extended its South Park Line narrow gauge track to Como. This line was one of the most important factors for transportation of mined ore.

In 1881 the South line narrow gauge railroad tracks finally made it to Como. In that same year the Como train roundhouse and the Pacific Hotel were also completed. It was about this time that the "High Line" narrow gauge track was laid over Boreas Pass to Breckenridge. Work on The Leadville line was completed in 1884.

Como and the Roundhouse reached it's peak of operations around 1900. In 1910 the Alpine Tunnel which provided a route to Gunnison through the mountain and underneath the Continental divide caved in. The cave in disaster and the decline of gold and silver mining in the area led to the ultimate death of the town of Como as a major hub for the narrow gauge railroad.

On April 10, 1937 the last passenger train left Como. On September 2, 1938 the last work train left Como as well. When the last work train left the narrow gauge railroad track was pulled up and discarded.

At the top of it's heyday Como's population was about 500 full time residents and about 2000 part time residents.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Example of a narrow gauge train

Narrow gauge trains just like this one where the bread and butter of Como in the heyday of the town's history.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Well preserved building in Como

Como today has about 25 full time residents and probably be considered a semi-ghost town.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Another building just off main street

Another example of some of the well preserved buildings in Como today.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

An abandoned house in Como

"Old House"

I look at your swayed roof, broken panes and rotting wood

Countless summer heat, winter blizzards you have stood

Memories all but forgotten of smile, tears and countless I love you

Laughter, sadness and nights of love slipped away as time flew

Why the people you shelter, protected left I will never know

Better fortunes, death, or the loneliness of the winter snow

In your dying decay, so goes the memories that you have stored

From sunrise to sunset here you sit all alone and ignored

Poem by Kurt Reifschneider


Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Pacific Hotel

On the north end of town lies the old Pacific Hotel which is under renovation by the new owners.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Como Colorado Cemetery

If old cemeteries are your passion Como cemetery is about 1 mile north of town on the west side of the road just before you start to go over Boreas Pass.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Como Cemetery Birdhouses

If you walk the old cemetery for photo's or gravestone etchings you will notice birdhouses just about everywhere you walk. On this trip I asked several of the locals about the bird houses and never really got a straight answer on why or how they got there. One of the many strange things you will encounter in Como.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Como resident and his dog

In about the center of town you will see this fellow and his dog. One of the many strange sightings you will encounter in Como.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

One can only guess

Stop sign with a teddy bear monitor.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Vintage antique trunks

These vintage antique trunks were probably made around the turn of the century. Today they are left out in the elements in someone's yard.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

One of the full time residents house in Como

Throughout Como you will see the house's such as this with numerous antiques lining the walls or scattered through the yard.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Rust and wildflowers

Throughout Como's mining equipment and antiques scattered around town you will see many of Colorado wildflowers during the spring and summer months growing amongst all the rust. It gives them antique and mining equipment a beautiful quality.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Wildflowers are abundant in or around Como

Alpine Sunflower is a very common wildflower that you will see on your trip to Como. The locals call it the Old Man On The Mountain.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Another common wildflower to the area

Colorado Tansy Aster Flower is the flower pictured above and almost anywhere in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Some other wildflowers that you may see on your trip to Como are Canadian Thistle Flowers, Blue Flax Flowers, Elephant Flowers, Yellow Paintbrush, Butter ā€˜nā€™ Eggs Flowers, Black Eyed Susan Flowers and Copper Mallow Flowers to name just a few.


Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Kenosha Pass

If you are traveling to Como from Denver you will have to drive over Kenosha pass elevation 10,000 ft. Never reaching above the timberline and featuring easily negotiable curves along an amply wide highway. An overlook on the west side of the pass offers a panoramic view of South Park and is a must stop area to take photographs. In the distance you will see the town of Jefferson but not quite see Como. When the aspens start to turn in late September this stretch of Highway 285 becomes a very busy and much traveled route to see the Autumn colors.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Top of Kenosha Pass

Traveling to Como and traveling over Kenosha Pass is a very awarding experience during the Autumn months when the leaves are turning.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Photographer Heaven

Top of Kenosha Pass is a photographers dream when it comes to the Autumn colors and taking family photos. On any given day during the Autumn when the aspens are turning you will see hundreds of cars parked at the top of the pass with people taking photographs.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Winter in Como

Winter in Como and in the South Park area just south of Kenosha Pass can be extremely hazardous. Bitter cold and blowing snow on Highway 285 can be and will be very dangerous. It is advisable to carry a winter survival kit in your car. It also would be advisable to carry chains if you do not own a four wheel drive.

Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography
Kurt Reifschneider of Midnight Wind Photography

Snow starts to drift in South Park on Highway 285 near Como

A list of a few items to carry in your winter survival kit. And always keep the fuel tank topped off near full. It could save you and your love one's life.

Windshield scraper and small broom

Flashlight with extra batteries

Battery powered radio

Water

Snack food, including energy bars

Raisins and mini candy bars

Matches and small candles

Extra hats, socks and mittens

First aid kit with pocket knife

Necessary medications

Blankets or sleeping bag

Tow chain or rope

Road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction

Booster cables

Emergency flares and reflectors

Fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention

Cell phone adapter to plug into the lighter

Flashlight with extra batteries

Battery powered radio

Water

Snack food, including energy bars

Raisins and mini candy bars

Matches and small candles

Extra hats, socks and mittens

First aid kit with pocket knife

Necessary medications

Blankets or sleeping bag

Tow chain or rope

Road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction

Booster cables

Emergency flares and reflectors

Fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention

Cell phone adapter to plug into the lighter

A shovel

Now plan your trip to Como Colorado

I hope this article has given you some insight to what to expect if you plan on traveling to Como, Colorado...... enjoy your visit and make sure you take a camera.

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