The Ute Indians were the last Native American tribe inhabiting the Yampa Valley before settlers moved into the area in the 1800s. Tribes had carved their existence on rock walls. Later, cattle and sheep men etched their legacy in the vast territory through range wars and gunfights as the land was opened to ranching, agriculture, and hunting. By 1881 early homesteaders arrived and a post office was established by cattle king Ora Haley. Businessman W.H. Tucker, prompted by talk of a railroad being built through the area, traveled from Glenwood Springs in 1887. Seeking to profit from the rumor, he secured land and established the town of Craig in 1889.The railroad wasn’t built until 24 years later, but its arrival opened the area to national cattle and sheep markets. Today, it solely transports coal.
Did you know that Craig is steeped in cowboy and outlaw history?
Set in a high-desert landscape, Craig is a thriving town steeped in cowboy and Native American history as well as gunfighter and outlaw lore.
In the late 1800s cattlemen, lured by the region’s mild winters, game, grass, and water, arrived and settled the area. They left a colorful western history complete with range wars and gunfights. Because of the area’s remoteness and access to three state borders, outlaws—Butch Cassidy, Sundance Kid, Isom Dart, Tom Horn and Matt Rash—also frequented the region. Brown’s Hole, now Browns Park, was home to a few of them before it became a refuge for wildlife.
Visit one of the world’s outstanding collections of Western Americana, which is housed in the Museum of Northwest Colorado. You’ll discover cowboy gear dating back to our
illustrious past including guns, gun leather, chaps, spurs, saddles, and other accoutrements.
Did you know that the spirit of the West is alive and thriving in Craig?
The Ute Indians were the last Native American tribe to inhabit the Yampa Valley before settlers moved into the area in the 1800’s. Earlier tribes left evidence of their existence as petroglyphs that you can view on canyon walls at stops along the scenic byways and journeys throughout the region.
Did you know that Craig, Colorado is central to a long history of sheep ranching?
Craig marks the end of the rail for David Moffat’s ambitious Denver Northwestern & Pacific Railroad endeavor. The Railroad opened the region to ranching and the shipping of products—cattle and sheep, wool, and products—from the area. In May 1956, 500 wool producers in northwestern Colorado, southern Wyoming, and eastern Utah shipped 3.5 million pounds of wool from the Craig Wool Warehouse!
Today, the annual Sheep Wagon Days Event celebrates this vital and continuing way of life in Northwest Colorado. Money to continue the railroad beyond Craig ran out in 1913, but you can track its history at the Museum of Northwest Colorado; and you can explore the restored Marcia Car, named for Moffat’s daughter, in Craig City Park.
Did you know that Moffat County’s wide-open spaces are home to wild herds?
From golden aspens to rugged canyons in legendary Browns Park, the region offers a diversity of wildlife experiences. It is home to two of the largest migratory elk herds, large deer, and pronghorn populations. Golden and bald eagles soar the skies, sage grouse and meadowlark sing and strut in the sage, and Canada geese and other water fowl float the river. Sources currently note Craig as the Elk Hunting Capital of the World. Hunters arrive annually from all over the world to hunt elk in Moffat County.
On the high desert, you can see wild horse herds roaming the Sand Wash Basin, or you can discover the area’s wildlife at seven designated Wildlife Viewing Areas throughout Moffat County.
Craig features two museums where you can discover the region’s history and western legacy:
- The Museum of Northwest Colorado, featuring Western Americana
- The Wyman Living History Museum (just four miles outside of Craig) offers a collection spanning one hundred years of American life, ingenuity and advancement.
CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE
- Museum of Northwest Colorado:Featuring one of the world’s outstanding Western American “Cowbow and Gunfighter” collections, the museum showcases cowboy gear used on the open range: guns, gun leather, chaps, spurs and saddles.
- Wyman Museum: A unique collection spanning 100 years of American life, ingenuity and advancement.
PARKS AND MOUNTAINS JOURNEYS
- Flat Tops Scenic Byway
- Dinosaur Diamond Prehistoric Highway
- Cradle of Wilderness Journey
- White River Ute Journey
- 65 Million Years in 65 Miles