Western Fremont County
Parkdale’s prime location on the Arkansas River and near the Royal Gorge makes it a popular base camp for visitors. The area is the gateway to whitewater rafting and Bighorn Sheep Canyon.
Bighorn Sheep Canyon
Long known as a gateway into the Rockies, Highway 50 (once known as the Rainbow Route) runs west through the towering rock walls of the Arkansas River Canyon. This beautiful canyon is dubbed “Bighorn Canyon” and hosts a thriving population of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep, Colorado’s state animal. These majestic animals are often seen on both sides of the river throughout the canyon. The Arkansas River Headwaters Recreation Area is a Colorado State Park running through the Bighorn Sheep Canyon with several recreational sites. These sites host restrooms, river access for rafting, fishing, picnicking, wildlife observation, camping, and interpretative signs of the area. Colorado Parks & Wildlife
Named for the Texas cattle driven through the area, this fly-fishing, ATV, and camping hotspot is loaded with scenic vistas and wildlife viewing opportunities. Highway 69 south at Texas Creek takes you to Hillside and the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley and fantastic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, one of the most beautiful in all of Colorado.
This quaint community was once a railroad stop and well known for the Russian Jewish Agricultural Colony that settled here in 1882. A small fenced section of Russian Jewish graves remains in the cemetery behind the Cotopaxi School (Est. 1870s).
Roughly 100 people call Hillside home. It is situated between Westcliffe and Cotopaxi; a tight-knit farming community that has never had a mayor, town hall or city council.
A bustling mining town and popular touring stop for opera stars in the late 1800’s, Coaldale is surrounded by towering peaks and is known for its secluded camping opportunities. Head south on Hayden Creek Road to see some of the last remaining charcoal kilns in Colorado. Charcoal production was a major industry in the early 1900s, producing charcoal for area smelters and railroads.
A river access and camping area is also the start of the Pathway into History interpretive drive with signs explaining the history of the area.
The Arkansas River runs through this pleasant valley community, drawing rafters, kayakers, and fishermen. The beautiful forested area features horseback riding, hiking, and ATV tours. The Old Howard Church constructed in 1898 sits on the original location of the Howard town site, about a mile off of Highway 50, facing the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the Twin Sisters peaks, named by one of the original homesteaders. Self-guided tours of the area are available at the church.