Walden & North Park, Colorado
Isolated North Park, a high mountain valley encompassing Jackson County, requires resilience from those who choose to live here. It is a place where rugged ways of life have endured the test of time. No matter the season, you’re likely to still meet cattlemen, cowgirls, forest rangers, and loggers.Timber harvesting in the region began in 1905 with the creation of the National Forests and the first timber sale on the Routt National Forest in 1906. Growing northwest Colorado towns created a demand for saw timber and railroad ties. The Laramie, Hahns Peak & Pacific Railway reached North Park in 1911 and hauled coal from nearby Coalmont.
Like early explorers who ventured into the valley and across the Continental Divide to camp and hunt along its creeks and deep forests, today locals, guides, outfitters and photographers still hunt, fish, hike, and camp.
Did you know if you can still see the “polar bear” on Mount Ethel in July, then ranchers have had enough water to irrigate the lush hay meadows of North Park?
North Park old-timers tell the story of the polar bear—a formation that appears in the snow field atop Mount Ethel every summer and is usually visible June through August. According to folklore, if you can still see the polar bear on Mount Ethel in July, then there is plenty of snow melting and all the ranchers have had enough water to irrigate the lush hay meadows of North Park. To spot the formation, find Mount Ethel, the high mountain peak directly southwest of Walden. It is best spotted about ten miles outside of Walden
traveling West on Hwy 14 toward Steamboat Springs.
Did you know that North Park is the Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado?
Often spotted browsing among the willows of North Park, visitors can honestly see moose anywhere in Jackson County, including downtown Walden!
Encircled by mountain ranges, North Park is a secluded and pristine region. Much like the early explorers, visitors today find room to roam. Moose, antelope, deer, elk, big horn sheep, and black bear abound, beaver and fish thrive in our waters, and great flocks of migrating waterfowl pass through every autumn and spring.
Cattle and hay ranches border vast public lands offering breathtaking views. Our mountains, lakes and streams provide a venue for infinite year-round outdoor recreation. The Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge affords glimpses of wildlife and birds while the Colorado State Forest State Park Moose Visitor center in Gould tells the story of our North Park moose and early timber camps. The North Park Pioneer Museum invites you to see the world through the eyes of our native tribes, explorers, miners, ranchers and loggers.
The grassland surrounding Walden sustains large ranches and wildlife populations just as they did over a century ago when settlers first arrived. Nearby forests around Gould were harvested by logging operations. Today, you’ll share the area with deer, elk and moose as well as birds of prey.
CULTURAL AND NATURAL HERITAGE
Moose Visitor Center: Operated by the Colorado State Forest State Park and located near the former logging camp of Gould, the Center features info on the park, local history, moose and other wildlife.
North Park Pioneer Museum: Housed in a cabin built in 1883, the museum’s exhibits showcase the region’s mining, logging, ranching and farming heritage.
MOUNTAINS & PARKS JOURNEYS
- Cache La Poudre-North Park Scenic and Historic Byway
- Buffalo Pass Journey
- Hahns Peak Gold Journey
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