James A. Payne

After George Jackson discovered gold in Clear Creek, he returned to the site with a team of 22 men. Within seven days, they discovered $1,900 worth of gold – the equivalent of $1 million by today’s standards! The population of the site quickly grew, first known as Jackson’s Diggings, Sacramento City, and finally Idahoe.  In June of 1859, the area was formally organized, the first recorded in Colorado history.  400 people lived in the settlement at that time. From 1860 until 1873, the city was surveyed three times with the last survey resulting in a town of 105 acres.

From the beginning, Idaho Springs attempted to display the best of culture. James A. Payne  who was part of that original party of 22,  brought his violin and performed for the residents of the city.  Payne’s was the first recorded marriage in Idaho Springs. Married to Hulda Payne, in 1863 the couple gave birth to Wesley, the first baby boy born in the Idaho Springs settlement.


White Water Rafting

Clear Creek is located in the same old mining valley in the Colorado Rockies where Idaho Springs sits. The average gradient of Clear Creek is 67 feet per mile—it has white water rafting sections appropriate for all ages and abilities. Its proximity to Denver,  Boulder, Summit County and Winter Park make this thrilling section of white water easily accessible. Many rafting trips originate from an outpost right in Idaho Springs! If you’ve never been rafting before, a day trip to Idaho Springs and a trip down Clear Creek can give you an affordable introduction into this family-friendly fun-filled activity.