If you’re a recent transplant, you may think that the East Coast has all the best history. Or, if you’re from here, you might find the idea of going out and exploring local history dull and boring. Well, think again on both fronts.
Colorado is full of amazing historical sites to check out and explore, and the history of the Wild West and new frontier are absolutely fascinating. This summer, before obligations for fall sneak up on you, get out there and see some of the exciting local history that Colorado has to offer.
1. Visit Old Colorado City
One of the coolest places to check out in Colorado is Old Colorado City, part of Colorado Springs, located squarely between downtown Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs. This historic downtown area, believe it or not, was actually once intended to be the capitol of Colorado, before it was decided that Denver made more sense, since it was built on the railroad line.
This area features plenty of historic buildings and attractions, as well as cute shops, and there are some monuments other cool sites to see. You’ll also be located conveniently between the Native American historical sites of Manitou Springs and the downtown area of Colorado Springs, so there is plenty to see and do around the area.
2. Head up to Buffalo Bill Memorial
Another historical site to take in is the famed Buffalo Bill Gravesite and memorial at Lookout Mountain. Tons of Denverites head up to Lookout Mountain all the time to take in the gorgeous sites and see all of Denver spread before them. Next time you are up here, take the time to go over to Buffalo Bill’s Gravesite and Memorial, just one parking lot over from Lookout Mountain.
While here, you can check out the gift shop for some kitschy Colorado memorabilia and visit the actual site where Buffalo Bill is buried. On his memorial, you can read all about his involvement in early Colorado history. This is a great spot to get a little bit of local history while also enjoying the outdoor sites, and you don’t have to go that far from your own backyard.
3. Take a Mine Tour
You don’t have to live in-state long to realize what an important role miners played in the history of Colorado. This state originally was built up by the gold rush, when everyone wanted to come mine in the Rocky Mountains and look for a way to get rich quick. Now we are experiencing a second “green rush” with everyone moving to Colorado for cannabis, so this is a perfect time to check out some of the local gold miner history.
There are several different places in Colorado where you can take a tour of some old mines. The Cripple Creek area is home to a couple of different mine tours, including the Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mine Tour, held all summer, and the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour, named for the first woman in Colorado to strike gold. At Hidee Gold Mine Tour in Central City, you can actually mine for gold yourself to get in touch with your inner miner.
4. Check out the Native American History
One aspect of Colorado history that is extremely interesting and can be explored to no end is the Native American history in this great state. You can check out the early cliff dwellings in Manitou Springs, the original dwellings of the Pueblo Indians in Mesa Verde National Park or some facts and early artifacts at the Anasazi Heritage Center.
If nature is more your thing, you can take a walk down Trail of the Ancients on the Scenic Byway, which goes through both Colorado and Utah.
5. Visit a Ghost Town in Colorado
Perhaps the creepiest way to enjoy Colorado history, but for sure one of the most fun, is to check out a ghost town somewhere in the state and see how our ancestors really lived. There are literally hundreds to choose from here in Colorado. Some towns just boast a few rundown structures that you can only get to via a hiking trail, like Swiss Boy in Chaffee County, while others, like the famous Telluride, are still well known spots for skiing and summer concerts, and offer quite a few original city remains that are still maintained. This is a great way to learn about the local history, and one I would certainly recommend for the more adventurous and spirited.