Holzwarth Historic Site

Round Trip Distance: 1.2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 8881 - 8918 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 30 mins.
Trailhead: Holzwarth
Fee: $20/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic views, Historic site

The Holzwarth Historic Site is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park near the west entrance. Sophia and John G. Holzwarth built their homestead here in the 1920's and later operated a dude ranch which remained until around 1975 when the area was added to the Rocky Mountain National Park. The lodge and buildings of the dude ranch were removed from the meadow while the original homestead remains for visitors to the park to enjoy.

The trailhead is located just off of Highway 34 about 8 miles north of the Kawuneeche Visitor Center. The parking area can easily accommodate large vehicles and horse trailers.

When planning a visit it is important to note that the cabins are only open during certain hours each day which is between 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM during the busy summer season.

The first stop on the trail is the well preserved miner's cabin of Joseph Fleshuts who homesteaded 160 acres here in 1902 but left abruptly in 1911 never to return.

The trail follows a hard packed road for about a half mile to the forested area on the other side of the valley. There are a few interesting interpretive signs along the route. The road is hard packed enough for wheelchairs but none of the buildings are wheelchair accessible.

The trail crosses the meager beginnings of the mighty Colorado River a short distance from the homestead.

Careful study of the map that details the layout of all the buildings is a valuable asset for explaining to children such things as the need for an ice house and a wood shed. The site also included a taxidermy.

For someone who has spent much of their life in the Rocky Mountain area it seems amazing how such flat roofs are able to stand up to the crushing weight of the winter snowpack.

Several of the buildings are occupied by caretakers. They are lucky enough to enjoy the modern conveniences of running water and electricity.

The Kawuneeche Valley truly has some very expansive meadows. The name, pronounced (kah-woo-NEE-chee) comes from the Arapaho words for 'coyote' and 'chief'.

The Holzwarth Historic Site is a good place to learn about life before the current modern era when people in remote areas out of necessity had to be totally self sufficient. There was no way of surviving throughout the winter without first growing enough food, hunting enough meat and gathering enough wood. Staying alive was truly a full time endeavor. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.