Fremont County

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Fremont County, Colorado is named after John C. Fremont who was appointed a Civil War general by Lincoln, infamous explorer, presidential candidate, gold millionaire, failed railroad tycoon, and governor of the Arizona Territory. He explored the Arkansas River to Pueblo, met Kit Carson then went up through South Park all the way to the Salt Lake and Columbia River. Then, he was commissioned to find a pass for the railroad in 1845. He decided to leave Bent’s Fort, just east of La Junta, in November but Kit Carson refused to go due to the impending winter. Fremont was known as a stubborn man and he went anyways which cost 11 of his men their lives before finally seeking refuge in Taos, New Mexico.

Fremont County’s focal point since prehistoric times has been the majestic Royal Gorge. The Ute Indians sought refuge, Spanish Conquistadors marveled, and in the winter of 1806 Zebulon Pike walked through the Royal Gorge up the frozen Arkansas River. Today it boasts the world’s highest suspension bridge over a thousand feet above the river. Fremont County also has a long history of prisons with the first one going back to 1871, five years before Colorado became a state. As early as 1872 oil was selling here and its coal reserves helped fuel the push of rail travel into the depths of the Royal Gorge which can still be enjoyed today.

Fremont County, Colorado gets 12 inches of rain per year and only about 40 inches of snow on average. About 57 days a year have precipitation and with 260 days of sunny Colorado skies, with July highs around 87 and January lows around 18.

Other than the Royal George which is just a little west of Cañon City, there is the Nature Conservancy and Aiken Canyon. It is located 15 miles NE of Penrose, along Hwy. 115 and is “one of the largest known, high quality foothills ecosystems along Colorado’s Front Range.” With large numbers of animal species, 120 documented bird species, many different plant species and diverse geologic formations.

The Arkansas Headwaters, stretching 148 miles through Leadville, Buena Vista, Poncha Springs, Salida, Cañon City, Florence, Penrose, and Pueblo is great for a multitude of recreational activities. It offers outstanding fishing, white water rafting and kayaking on the river. As well as excellent hiking, camping, mountain biking, and sightseeing through the deep canyons, expansive valleys, and towering peaks surround it.

There is also the Beaver Creek State Wildlife Area, Brush Hollow Reservoir and State Wildlife Area, Pueblo Lake, and the Scenic Byways Gold Belt Tour to explore between Cripple Creek and Florissant. It doesn’t matter what you like, you can find it in Fremont County. Large numbers of deer and elk throughout the area make for excellent hunting, there are great off-road trails for ATVs, 4x4s, Motorcycles and UTVs north of the river at Texas Creek, and lots of history and great dining in the surrounding towns of Westcliffe to the south, Salida to the West and in Cañon City.

References and links for more information:

Fremont County History

Fremont County Climate Information

Fremont County Attraction

Fremont County Wiki Page

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