Valmont Butte – Boulder, Colorado - Atlas Obscura

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Valmont Butte

This now-abandoned outcrop is an important Native American spiritual site, overtaken by European settlers and mining pollution. 


This site has everything to make it the perfect backdrop for a found footage film: an abandoned mill, a rich and tragic history for the Native peoples of the region, a beautiful backdrop, and reported hauntings. And it’s all located just 11 minutes from downtown Boulder. Got you hooked yet?

Standing on Valmont Butte, it’s hard to imagine this site as anything more than the land around a crumbling, abandoned industrial building. But for the southern part of the Arapahoe tribe, this volcanic dyke is a sacred site. To this day, numerous Indigenous peoples still hold this site as sacred and until 2007, the Lakota Sioux spiritual leader Robert Cross conducted ceremonies on the land.

The land served as the resting place and burial grounds for Native Americans—predominantly members of the Arapahoe tribe—and early European settlers. It is rumored to be haunted by many spirits, with the report of one paranormal team saying they heard voices, saw shadows, and even floating lights.

In both 1867 and 1869, the United States and Arapahoe Tribe signed treaties that led to the tribe being divided into two. The newly formed Northern Arapahoe and Southern Arapahoe tribes were forced to relocate, with Fort Laramie in Wyoming acting as a border station.

In the 1940s, a mill was constructed on Valmont Butte to process fluorspar and gold. But soon the surrounding area was polluted, and public drinking water became contaminated from the spill off. The environmental effect got so bad that the EPA once listed Valmont Butte as one of the 10 most contaminated sites in Colorado.

Today, the city of Boulder owns the land. The future of the land and its dilapidated complex future is still unsure. For now, it has been left to the elements, urban explorers, and the many spirits who may never be truly at rest.

Know Before You Go

If traveling to the site, please treat it with respect and dignity. This is a site of great spiritual import and is a resting place for many native people as well as being the final resting place of many people.

If you’re coming from downtown Boulder you want to take Pearl Street until it becomes Pearl Parkway and follow that road. Then, make a right at the KOA Lake and follow Valmont Road until the bend. The mill will be at the bend in the road.

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March 5, 2020

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