Many visitors to the state of Colorado who make their way from Denver into the Rocky Mountains find themselves traveling on I-70. This highway makes its way into the heart of the Rockies. Here you can learn about the Gold Rush, the Narrow Gauge Railroad and Buffalo Bill along with all that lives and has lived above 8,000 feet.
Along the way, only about 30-35 miles west of Denver, you’ll pass by the little town of Idaho Springs. If you do your homework, there is much to see and do here. There is also much history to be discovered. If you are only passing through however, and have a few extra minutes, you can get a close up view of the famous (well sort-of famous) Tayler Water Wheel. It is a Scenic Lookout and Historical Landmark.
Take exit 241, head west to 17th St and then turn left. At the end of the street you’ll be able to park your car and trailer right across the street from the tiny Anderson Park. There you can see Engine #60 and coach #70 built by the Union Pacific Railroad for use on the Narrow Gauge Line. From the park, it’s a ¼ mile paved stroll along Clear Creek, where you’ll see the Charles Tayler Water Wheel.
The Water Wheel was initially built by Charles Tayler. Charlie attributed his good health to the fact that he ‘never kissed women or took baths’. It powered his stamp mill in 1893. It was moved to its present site in 1946 as a gift to the people of Idaho Springs from his estate.
This little excursion is a nice side trip along I-70. It is definitively worth the 20 minutes that it takes to see the water wheel. As an added bonus, see the lovely waterfall and enjoy the short stroll.
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