Oak Creek, Colorado
Oak Creek legacy is directly linked to the area’s coal fields and the Denver & Salt Lake Railroad. Small mines historically supplied coal to the region but major production was not possible, nor profitable, without year-round transportation. In the early 1900s, rail was arduously laid from Denver across the Continental Divide to towns along the Yampa River.
In 1916, 1,400 men “broke rock” in the coal mines and from the 1920s through the 1940s Oak Creek was the largest town in Routt County. Today Peabody Energy’s mine is the region’s largest employer.
Did you know coal miners first settled the town?
Immigrants from around the world worked the coal mines surrounding Oak Creek from the early 1900s. The number of different ethnic groups was unusually high for its population during the 1920s to the 1940s. Today, the town embraces its diversity and heritage.
Mining success brought the railroad to nearby Phippsburg, and the rail line continued through Oak Creek. Today the Oak Creek and Phippsburg Historical Society keeps the region’s heritage alive with the Tracks & Trails Museum. Coal mining memorabilia is featured at Bucket Park on Main Street in Oak Creek and the indoor museum exhibits tell the stories of miners, railroaders, and founding families. A restored caboose is on display in Phippsburg. Hardworking coal miners celebrated labor day starting in 1913. Today, this Labor Day Weekend signature event is one of the largest in Colorado. Join us!
Did you know that you can find “Four Seasons of Fun” in Oak Creek?
Year-round the Yampa River valley provides a climate that natives live for and visitors flock to. Just outside of town is Stagecoach State Park, the crowning “Jewel of the Yampa.”
Here you’ll find not only great fishing but lakeside campsites with a full-service marina, swim beach, a trail looping the lake, and interpretive wetland trail with bird-watching blinds. Summer weather entices hikers, backpackers, horseback riders, campers, and day-trippers. Autumn brings deer and elk hunting opportunities and winter offers cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing—and a covered ice rink in downtown Oak Creek. While you’re in town, relax and experience one of our many restaurants.
- From Mile Marker 157 on I-70 west of Denver, take Route 131 north
- Or from Steamboat Springs take Route 40 and 131 south to Main Street, Oak Creek.
CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE
The Tracks and Trails Museum: Located in the 1927 Town Hall building, the museum highlights the region’s coal mining, railroad and local history.
Tracks and Trails Museum Website
MOUNTAINS AND PARKS JOURNEYS
- Flat Tops Trail Scenic Byway
- Gore Pass Journey
- Buffalo Pass Journey
- Oak Creek from colorado.com
- South Routt Economic Development Council
- Stagecoach State Park
- Yampa River State Park
- Tracks and Trails Museum