Black Hawk is a tiny town in the Colorado Rockies. It is one of Colorado's oldest towns, but the reason it is famous today is because it is one of the few places in Colorado that allow gambling. Nestled in a canyon, the first settlers came after a prospector found gold in the canyon in 1859. The population swelled, but few found gold, and the settlement was more like a string of camps.
First called mountain city, Black Hawk's history make it a prime destination for a Colorado vacation. The boom quickly subsided and the town turned to laboring in the mines. Black hawk became known as the city of mills because of the stream running through town that was used to drive water wheels and sift gold ore. Many mines sent their ore to Black Hawk to be milled.
When visiting mines be careful. Never visit an abandoned mine. These mine shafts do not go horizontally into the mountain. Gold is forced up through natural processes which means that mine shafts go straight down, often more than a thousand feet. There are also thousands of mining claims. Most have been capped but not all.
As the mining petered out and new mining techniques no longer needed water power, Black Hawk's population and relevance decayed. Historical district laws were passed, but without employment many Black Hawk natives moved away after the automobile made travel easier. As the city moved away from mining, tourist activities like hiking and skiing took over.
The town continued to decay until the early 90's, when the state legislature legalized gambling in Black Hawk and Central City. Now the town is a popular location for Colorado trips. The casinos are popular because they are smaller and more intimate than the ones in Las Vegas.
For those looking to plan a Colorado vacation in the casino towns you should call ahead for lodging reservations. The towns are in a narrow gulch with little room. Most of the room is taken by casinos, although there are a few hotels and bed and breakfasts. Over the years, the mining town turned to gambling and tourism between a brief dry spell that left the city almost abandoned. Some ghost towns are excellent for Colorado trips however. The other legalized gambling spots in Colorado are Central City and Cripple Creek, both a few hours from Colorado Springs.