The Native Americans knew well the riches of Battle Mountain, but their pursuits and those of later settlers were very different.

The Utes and Arapahos engaged in a multi-day battle in the mid 1800’s over hunting territory on the mountain, giving the area its name. Details of the conflict are historically hazy.

The area was discovered by prospectors in search of gold and silver that helped fuel westward expansion. They began to spill out of the hills near Leadville and found promising mineral bands at what is now Gilman where the Canyon of the Eagle River shows its fractured rocky face.

Mining beneath what is now Gilman began in 1879 and peaked during the Cold War when the mine was a major source of zinc, used in a number of metal alloys. Mining began to taper off through the 1970s as cheaper foreign sources of zinc hit the marked and in April 1984 the last shift at the mine clocked out.

Over its 105-year lifetime, miners extracted gold, silver, lead, copper and most recently zinc. There are 62 miles of tunnels beneath the surface of the Eagle Mine where miners toiled to extract the ores. Many of the tunnels beneath Battle Mountain are below the level of the Eagle River and are flooded with ground water.

Over the years owners of the property have changed through various corporate mega-mergers and acquisitions and have included New Jersey Zinc, Gulf & Western, Paramount and most recently CBS/Viacom.

The nearby small towns of Red Cliff and Minturn grew with the mines and helped attract rail service, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, which served the area until 1997. Now housing and the mine buildings at the mining ghost town of Gilman are still visible from Highway 24, but access is prohibited.
Click here for mining articles from the 1950s.
For more history


The Next Steps
Over the last 25 years the 5,457 acres of Battle Mountain has been eyed for a different set of riches- its beauty, fabulous views, the many recreational opportunities and – perhaps most important- its proximity to the nearby world-class resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek.

A master-planned Colorado mountain community of 1,700 units is envisioned that will complement everything the Vail Valley offers. It will have Alpine and Nordic skiing, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and hunting, kayaking and other water sports- and will present all-season outdoor recreational opportunities for active residents.

Recent History
Battle Mountain’s properties were purchased in December 2004 by Florida developer Bobby Ginn, and private equity firm partner, Lubert Adler, of Philadelphia, for $32.75 million.

Ginn and Lubert Adler had partnered on many other resort developments in Florida, North and South Carolina and in the Caribbean.

Ginn’s development team developed a plan for Battle Mountain that included a ski mountain with 10 lifts, two golf courses, extensive commercial space and 1,700 units of residential development. That development proposal and annexation into Minturn went to voters in May of 2008 and was approved by a nearly 9 to 1 margin.

That annexation brought 4,300 acres of the property into town. A second annexation of the remaining 1,100+ acres is envisioned.

Not long after that vote, the subprime mortgage disaster began to unwind the booming economy, teeing up the worst recession since the Great Depression. The resulting economic tsunami slowed all development, subsequently forcing Ginn to give up his ownership stake in Battle Mountain in 2009.

Lubert Adler brought in a new veteran-studded development team, Crave Real Estate, charging team members with forging a new development plan for the land.