Colorado Midland Railroad Depot
  • Founded in 1866 at an elevation of 8,864 feet.

  • The standard gauge railroad depot in Hartsel was one of the busiest of the line.

  • The area around Hartsel is rich in history of human occupation that goes back 12,000 years.  Archaeologists have found evidence of tools and campsites of separate groups who returned to the area each summer for the good hunting and abundant wildlife dating back to at least 10,000 BC.  The Utes continued that practice in the area until they were placed on reservations elsewhere.

  • Trappers lived among the Native Americans and delivered beaver pelts to traders as early as the late 1700s.  Zebulon Pike and his expedition visited the area in December of 1806.  Pike recorded the experience in his journal and reported back to the President of the United States.  You can find maps of the route through Colorado and Park County and information about Pike at www.zebulonpike.org.  Efforts are now being made to designate Pike's route as a National Historic Trail and a Colorado Pioneer Trail.

  • First arriving in the South Park in 1860 in search of gold, Sam Hartsel soon discovered that feeding the miners was far more lucrative than digging for gold.  He established a ranch in the open range in the heart of the South Park and gradually built it to one of the most successful cattle and sheep operations in the area and a thriving hotel near the ranch's hot springs.

  • In a large meadow east of Hartsel, the 1874 Buckley Ranch looks much like it did in the 1930s.  This six-acre National Register Distric encompasses the former ranch headquarters and numerous other buildings.  Colorado Parks & Wildlife purchased the property in 1986 and it is now part of the Spinney Mountain State Wildlife Area.  A parking area for fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing is available at the ranch.

  • Three miles north of Hartsel, the 1874 Santa Maria Ranch is listed on the National Register and is undergoing restoration of the many historic buildings.

  • Salt Works Ranch
  • Salt Works Ranch includes the original 1862 homestead of Charles L. Hall.  A number of log and wood frame buildings typical of the period remain on the site.  Listed on the National Register of Hitoric Places, Salt Works is thought to be one of the oldest working ranches in Colorado operated by the same family.  The Colorado Salt Works, located on the ranch, was the only salt production facility of its kind in Colorado and represents one of Colorado's earliest industrial enterprises.

  • Hartsel remains a ranching-focused town where along with the cattle, bison have become a favorite range animal, co-existing with deer, elk, and antelope on the open high plains.

  • Great Trout Fishing abounds in the Hartsel area including a handicapped access area.  It is located three miles north of Hartsel on County Road 439 and provides wheelchair access to the Middle Fork of the South Platte River.
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