U.S. Cities and Towns:
Sapinero, COLORADO
(Ghosttown/Unincorporated Community)

Sapinero was originally on the north bank of the Gunnison River, one mile north from its present location (just downstream from the mouth of Soap Creek). Sapinero was originally a stop on the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad's narrow gauge main line between Denver and Salt Lake City. Eventually, a standard gauge route supplanted the Gunnison line, and the narrow gauge's final abandonment came in 1955. In about 1963, when Blue Mesa Dam was built on the Gunnison River below Sapinero, the town was moved and re-established in its present location, prior to the area's inundation by the water of Blue Mesa Reservoir.

Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado's largest man made lake. Sapinero at upper right.


When travel in the area was by foot, horseback and wagon, travelers headed west from Gunnison did not have too many obstacles caused by the terrain. When the trail was not following close to the river, the hills were neither too steep nor too long to stop the travelers. However, this easy travel ended 26 miles west of Gunnison. At that point the Gunnison River plunged into the narrow depths of the Black Canyon. Steep rocky slopes and sheer granite walls plunging to the waters edge made continued westward travel along the river impossible. Travel along either rim of the canyon was difficult and often blocked by smaller canyons where tributary streams joined the river. The western end of the valley at the upper end of the Black Canyon was a natural place to stop and to rest before the journey was continued. The little settlement that grew there eventually became known as Sapinero.

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