The State of Colorado was gradually settled by Americans following the gold rush of 1859 which brought 10s of thousands of miners, and others, to the Denver area where there had been a trace of placer gold had been discovered in 1858. Successful early mining was in the Idaho Springs and Central CIty areas which are in the northeast portion of the Colorado mineral belt which extends from the San Juan Mountains though Leadville to the mountains west of Denver. Crestone lies outside the mineral belt but sits above a large low-grade gold deposit associated with the Sangre de Cristo fault which lies at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo mountains east of Crestone. Surface deposits near Crestone are shallow and unproductive but were sufficient to attract prospectors and miners from the 1870s to 1900. None of the mines in Crestone were particularly productive but there was enough to support several mines and mills.