Most of us have probably never been to Pitkin, Colorado and likely have extremely limited knowledge about this tiny mountain town.

I always find it interesting to look "behind the veil" of Colorado's lesser-known cities and towns and discover the story behind their history.

The town of Pitkin is located 26 miles northeast of Gunnison. Its permanent population is small, but the mountain location makes it a popular place, especially during the summer. Close by are great hiking, backpacking, and ATV opportunities, and, of course, fishing.

Pitkin is the oldest incorporated town on the western slope, so it's definitely worth taking a closer look. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Pitkin, Colorado.


  • 1

    Pitkin Used to be Quartzville

    Pitkin was originally called Quartzville when it was founded in 1879. Later, the town would be renamed Pitkin in honor of Colorado's second Governor Frederick Pitkin. Contrary to popular belief, the town of Pitkin is actually in Gunnison County, the southern next-door neighbor of Pitkin County.

  • 2

    Population Boom, Then Bust

    Pitkin was the first mining camp in Colorado west of the Continental Divide. Over 30 mines filled with iron, copper, gold, lead, silver led to population growth of more than 1000 people and more than 60 businesses. But, the mines dried up, and by 1883 the town lost half of its population. Today, Pitkin boasts a permanent population of 69.

  • 3

    100- Year-Old Church

    The  Pitkin Community Church was founded in 1901 as the First Presbyterian Church. The church is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day with the town population "growing" to as much as 300 during the summer. Two services are usually held in June and July because the crowd is so large.

  • 4

    Full Range of Services

    Pitkin may be small, but it offers a lot for its size. You'll find five lodging facilities, two restaurants, two general stores, five gift shops, plus a variety of services including realtors, contractors, off-road vehicle rentals, a community center, and a fish hatchery.

  • 5

    Elevation 9,242 Feet

    The elevation of Pitkin is 9,242. You know the winters are frigid, but summers are extremely comfortable with daytimes highs rarely in the 80s and night time temperatures  in the 40s and 50s.

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