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North Park and Walden, Colorado

March 5, 2007

Posted March 4, 2007

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Been a little busy with work and real life stuff, so been a while since I last posted. That should change now for the better.

Before I go any further in the trip’s description, here is my standard comment. Please check my photo galleries here for all the larger and higher quality photos for this trip. In addition, you can view a topo map of Walden, CO here. A Google Earth map can be found here (you may need to adjust the scale bar on the left side of the Google map). All links open a new browser window.

As can be seen from some of my trips, I spend a considerable amount of time both in and around the North Park area of northern Colorado. And, this would include Walden, Colorado since it’s centered in that area. There are three reasons for this. One, my mom and sister both reside in Walden. Two, the North Park area of Colorado is within a 2 hour drive from where I live in Fort Collins, Colorado. And, three, there are just a TON of great hiking and rafting to do in the area (a possible number 4 reason is that not many people visit the area : )

If I’m going to the North Park area to visit, I normally do a “circle” trip. That is, I head up Hwy 14 through the Poudre River canyon up to Cameron Pass. Here is a photo taken by my daughter, Josie, in the upper Poudre Canyon.

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Then down from the pass into North Park and to Walden, CO. The section of country from the upper Poudre Canyon, over Cameron Pass, and then down into North Park is exceptionally pretty. A person (or family) could easily spend all their time (or, most of a summer : ) just exploring that part of the mountains. Here is what Cameron Pass can look like in the summer.

And here is a shot of the winter.

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Coming down from Cameron Pass, thru Gould, takes you by the Colorado State Forest headquarters. Even though I’ve been in it many times, I usually stop in to talk to the friendly rangers and check moose sightings that are listed on a board inside. The “barbed wire” moose that stands outside is also a favorite photo opportunity (this one taken by my daughter, Josie).

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Soon after passing through Gould, CO (ummm, don’t blink or you will miss it : ), you hit the “upper” meadows of the Michigan River and North Park. This section is always lush and green during the summer.

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Eventually you enter the “true” North Park section which is composed of rolling, sage brush covered, high prairie. North Park is surrounded on all sides by mountains. While this section does receive relatively small amounts of moisture, the various streams that cross through it allow for a variety of wildlife and scenic views.

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Then, there is Walden itself.

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What can I say about Walden. Well, it’s, ummm “small”. And, to a large degree, this picture (by my daughter, Josie, again) can summarize Walden.

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So, this “feline” hunting just on the edge of Walden, shows how you may be able to take the cat out of the wilderness, but never really take the wilderness out of the cat. Walden is very similar, although, as a “visitor” (nicer than saying “tourist”), a person may not immediately understand this of Walden.

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Here’s the deal. Walden exists in the 21 ‘st century. It likes the fisherman, skiers, rafters, bikers, balloonists, snowmobilers, that pass through and enjoy it’s great small town food and hospitality. But, and this is important, Walden is still, up to now, what it has been for over a hundred years.

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A small ranching and agricultural village. So, as with the cat, you may be able to hide the town under a thin veneer of 21st century, but underneath that thin skin its still 19th century ranchers and pioneers. If you can deal with that, you’ll do a lot better with Walden. If not, you’ll never really understand what makes it tick. Check it out, as these types of places are slowly disappearing from Colorado, the US, and even the world at large.

While situated in the “flat” part of North Park, Walden is really pretty close to the mountains. Looking at the town from Walden reservoir, you can see the Rawah mountains just east of the town.

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The Walden reservoir, about a mile (or less) west of town, is a pretty nice place to take a quick walk. In particular, the view of the Zirkel mountains to the west is quite nice.

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Here is another view of the Rawahs to the east of town right from the edge of Walden.

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Summertime in Walden is special for a lot of reasons, but one of the best is it’s garden season. So, scenes such as this,

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or, my mom’s backyard (including my mom : ),

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can be seen everywhere.

It’s not too unusual to see moose walking thru downtown Walden, and mountain lions are occasionally spotted, but our feathered friends like Walden also. Notice the building to the left of the person (my mom : ) in the photo above. It’s right on the alley and is a favorite perch for owls.

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A few miles to the south of Walden is the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge. During certain times of the year, they allow a person to walk pretty much anywhere; while other times of the year people are restricted to only certain areas in order not to bother migrating waterfowl. Early one spring I was able to hike around the refuge and enjoy the sunshine,

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signs of spring,

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and even a few ducks and geese.

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As part of my “circle” trip to Walden, I head north out of the town on a route that will take me, eventually, back to Fort Collins by way of Laramie, WY. But, its hard to leave North Park without being amazed at the variety of country that exits in the area.

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Including, amazing enough, two separate areas of “sand dunes!” Here is the shot of one of the areas of sand dunes that lay up againt the mountains to the east as you pass through the northern section of the park.

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Eventually you head east up into the Medicine Bow mountains. That is the range that needs to be crossed before dropping into the plains of Laramie. The Medicine Bow mountains contain a wealth of rivers, valleys, and peaks that someone could spend a lot of quality time exploring. And you don’t have to go very far off the beaten path. One area is the Camp Creek access road. I spent a couple of days hiking around this area in the spring. I need to go back sometime and check up on the moose I saw : )

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Speaking of moose, if you keep your eyes peeled on either side of the highway, you have a pretty good chance of spying a moose in one of the ponds that occur along the road. Such as this one.

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Just don’t forget to keep at least one eye on the highway!

Eventually you come down out of the mountains (passing by the very small village of Woods Landing) following a very long, and relatively steep, descent over the last 5 miles or so. This is where you need to really open up your eyes for animals on the highway. I’ve had to slow down in order not to run into deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope. I guarantee you WILL see pronghorns before you enter the town of Laramie.

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Once through Laramie, Hwy 287 winds it’s way through some foothills back to Fort Collins. Depending on the season and time of day, your views of the plains and mountains can be very pretty. Here is a shot looking west across Hwy 287 about 20 miles north of Fort Collins, CO.

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I zoomed in a little on this photo.

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Anyway, I heartily recommend a trip to North Park and Walden, Colorado. Wonderful area and great people.

- Geoff Weatherford

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73 Comments leave one →
  1. jason hanson permalink
    March 21, 2007 12:47 am

    i lived in walden as a child, 2-12, i love the pictures. they bring back alot of memories. my wife now can see how beautiful it is in one of my home towns.

  2. March 23, 2007 3:30 am

    Thanks for the comment, Jason. I need to go back this coming summer and get a lot more photos of Walden and the people that live there. So, I will be updating the Walden “series”.
    Thanks again,

    Geoff Weatherford

  3. Julie Daeschner Buck permalink
    April 2, 2007 5:43 am

    Thanks so much for the beautiful photos. I lived outside of Walden on the Illinois River Ranch near Rand for about 3 years in the early 1970′s and still consider it the most beautiful place I have lived.

  4. April 3, 2007 1:49 am

    Julie,

    Thanks for visiting my site. I will definitely be back this summer since it is so close, so pretty, and my mom and sister live there. So, more photos : )
    I think the weekend of June 24 they have the rodeo and a bike race that comes through Walden. So, I’m going to try and get pictures of all that this summer.

    Thanks again,
    Geoff Weatherford

  5. Derek Paris permalink
    March 13, 2008 3:44 am

    Hi Geoff, Great pics and info on the North Park area. A friend and myself, are planning on coming to the area the end of August 08, from Wisconsin. We have planned to start our hike at Big Creek Lakes Trailhead, continuing on to 7 lakes to camp for 1 week. We will be hunting mule deer. Wondering if you would give me some of your insight on the area, such as temps, any snow this time of year. Also any info on Walden. We are looking for a place that may allow us to plug in a chest freezer in the event we are successful early in the week of our hunt. I also saw your pics of 7 lakes, that was my first view of the area we will camp, as we planned the trip with only topo maps. Doesnt really give you a good visual. Thanks for your time Geoff. Look forward to hearing back from you. Looks like I may not want to come back home to the flatness of Wisconsin.

    Derek

  6. March 17, 2008 3:57 am

    Derek,

    First week of September you can start to “feel” autumn coming, but it won’t arrive for another week or so. You may start to see a few leaves turning into their fall colors at or above timberline, but (normally) most everything else will be in summertime colors. Warm/hot during the day and cool at night. It’s always possible to see snow (overnight and melt the next day), but not really likely. But, it’s the mountains, so plan for any type of weather : ) Animals will all still be up high, so 7 Lakes should be a good spot to base camp (right at timberline).
    Walden is a nice small (very small) town. My mom and sister live there, so I visit it a lot. Great place, nice people. You might want to reserve a motel room (for clean up prior to driving back to Wisconsin) in advance as Walden is a popular place at that time of the year for hikers, bicyclists, fisherman, and archery hunters.
    There is a local grocery store in Walden that will “rent” you room for any game you kill in it’s meat locker. That’s where I would put my stuff overnight instead of trying to deal with a chest freezer. Otherwise, the motel people are pretty friendly, so you can probably work something out with them.
    Let me know if you need any more info. I’m going to Walden next weekend and can find out any additional info if possible (or, at least get you some phone numbers).

    Thanks for viewing the photos and be sure to bring your cameras.

    Geoff Weatherford

  7. Mike permalink
    June 3, 2008 2:43 pm

    I love this area! We just got back (Sunday night, June1) from Colorado and this was our first time making the trek to Walden. I must say it is as pretty an area as there is in the state, which is saying something.

    I think on our next trip, we will make the drive from Fort Collins again and either go north through Laramie, or possibly south and work our way back to the east, either through RMNP or maybe head straight down to Granby and see how low the lake has gotten .. that is a sad sight ..

  8. Mel & Nancy permalink
    June 5, 2008 8:31 pm

    We lived in Walden in the late 70″s. I taught Biology and Nancy was the county nurse and school nurse. Still have great memories of this beautiful country. Hi to all who may remember us!

    Mel

  9. June 8, 2008 4:26 pm

    Mike,

    The drive over Trailridge (RMNP) and then up to Walden is a great trip. Definitely longer than going up through Laramie, but worth it.
    Thanks,
    Geoff Weatherford

  10. June 8, 2008 4:31 pm

    Mel & Nancy,
    Thanks for stopping in to look at the photos. Walden is a pretty small and tight little community (as I’m sure you remember : ), so I’m sure you are remembered.

    My mom has told me that the number of school kids in Jackson county is steadily shrinking. So, it’s been difficult to keep the schools going (and teachers hired). That said, I would still consider it a strong (if smallish) community.

    I think the only times I visited Walden in the 60s/70s was on the way to Steamboat to go skiing. Those were my high school/college years, so I probably thought that Walden was too small to matter. How times change : )

    Thanks,

    Geoff Weatherford

  11. Raymond permalink
    August 12, 2008 8:24 pm

    Your pictures of this country interested me; I have visited Walden twice as part of my quest to learn about my ancestors but didn’t see much scenery other what was visable from my car.
    My mother’s grandfather is buried there and an uncle was born there. It will be interesting to find out what brought this part of the family to Walden.

  12. August 16, 2008 5:06 pm

    Raymond,

    There was a lot of mining in the surrounding area (even a smelter close by). Forestry was a big industry for a while and agriculture (ranching) has always been a major factor since the 1800s. In addition, the area served as a crossroads for movement between areas located in Colorado and Wyoming.
    The area’s industry has dimished since it’s heyday due to the decline in the mining and foresty industry as a whole. That said, it’s agricultural industry is very strong and it’s recreational industry is doing very well and slowly (if anything) growing. It’s possible that both mining and forestry could sustain a rebirth in the area in the near term future. There is, for an example, a new wood pellet company just beginning to start up in Walden. And, with oil, gas, and coal prices going up, those types of mining could again become a major factor for the area (hopefully not so much that it detracts from the current scenic and recreational value : )

    Thanks,

    Geoff Weatherford

  13. matt permalink
    August 20, 2008 2:43 pm

    Awesome pictures Geoff. I spent my summer’s in Cowdrey, CO (another 10 miles north of walden) and was looking for some good old pics online. Amazing country out there. Walden and Cowdrey NEVER change and there is something great about that.

    Thanks for the pics.

    -matt

  14. August 24, 2008 7:00 pm

    Matt,

    Thanks for the comments. I usually go through Cowdrey each time I visit Walden. I need to get some photos of Cowdrey (and also of Gould, Rand, Pearl, etc.) to round out my “North Park” work.

    - Geoff Weatherford

  15. Ginger permalink
    October 2, 2008 11:49 am

    I grew up going to a cabin about 40 minutes North of Walden (I think), in Jackson County, route 14 (Jackson Ranches). We spent 2-3 weeks every summer there, and your pictures really capture it’s beauty. We used to go to Corkle’s market in Walden to get groceries. I still get out there, but only every 2-3 years. Anyhow, thanks for posting these, they’re great.

  16. October 12, 2008 7:25 pm

    Ginger,

    Thanks for visiting. I think “Corkles” is gone. They have a new supermarket right outside of town (so, just north of town, up the steep section that goes past the turnoff to the rodeo/fairgrounds).
    Hope you get back soon.

    - Geoff Weatherford

  17. January 2, 2009 5:31 pm

    Hi Goeff thanks for the trip down memorey lane . I grew up In walden and really enjoyed the Pics it brought back fond Memories

  18. January 8, 2009 1:48 am

    Herb,

    Thanks for checking it out. Great place. Not really changing too much from decade to decade. Which is a good thing : )

    Geoff Weatherford

  19. Tony permalink
    March 12, 2009 1:49 am

    Hi

    Really enjoyed your pictures.
    I worked the summer of 1995 at the State Forest State Park had quite a time in the mountains and the area.
    I would hike the crags or the ranger lakes area on my days off. I would recommend the area to anyone who really wants to see it all.

    Thanks again Geoff

  20. Geoff Weatherford permalink
    March 20, 2009 2:56 am

    Tony. Thanks for stopping by.

    I’ll have to hike to the ranger lakes sometime. Something I have yet to do (which is a good thing : )

    Geoff Weatherford

  21. Scott Shipman permalink
    May 15, 2009 10:40 pm

    I visited and hiked in North Park a few years ago after learing there was a peak and park named for a Shipman. I didn’t learn anything about the person for whom Shipman Mountian and Shipman Park were named. Any ideas? We have to be related – there aren’t many Shipmans out there.

    Scott

  22. Deb permalink
    June 15, 2009 7:18 pm

    We were taking a walk on the trail behind the Colorado State Forest HQ outside of Gould on 6/11/09. Though giddy at the thought of spotting my first moose in the wilderness, it was something I didn’t truly believe would happen. Much to my delight, maybe a mile..mile and 1/2 along the trail was a shallow pond with dense brush to one side of it. A young cow stepped from the brush, began to drink then raised her head as she caught our scent. She continued to drink and sniff for a few minutes and was then joined by a second young cow. Absoluately amazing! They were perphaps 50 yards from us. Something I will never forget!

  23. June 22, 2009 11:25 pm

    Deb,

    Pretty fun to see one of those moose. They really do like that area, but still, you never know if you will see one or not.
    Another area that I see them a lot is around the Long Draw Reservoir road and also up in the Snowy Range. I had one run in front of my car just recently in Rocky Mountain national park just after entering the park on the Grand Lake side.
    But then sometimes I go without seeing one for a month (usually when I really want to see one, of course : )

    Thanks for stopping by.

    GeoffW

    • Deb permalink
      July 13, 2009 4:04 pm

      Honestly, Geoff, it was thrilling for me. We had been joking around about a moose calling video in which the “moose call” was literally a guy calling out, “Here moose!” while walking around with his hands splayed out like antlers on either side of his head. Being a wingnut, I was doing the same while gently thrashing on a bush here and there with a small stick. Perhaps next time you want to see one, you might adopt this scientific, tried and true approach. *cracking up in a fit of laughter*

      Regards,
      Deb

  24. Dale & Sheila permalink
    July 27, 2009 6:50 pm

    Literally stumbled onto your website. Just this past weekend, we finalized details on a purchase of 286 acres, off county road 4, on the “Parsons Draw” Road. It has an old homestead cabin, that we are using as a weekend getaway. But have already spent a couple of afternoons in downtown Walden. (our kind of place)… we and our 6 grown kids can’t wait to anything and everything North Park has to offer… BTW – the property we bought is referred to as the “Hermit Jack Ranch”, most of the original outbuildings from the early 20′s. We’re dying to get some history about Hermit Jack, and the Parson’s Draw area… and well, you seem to be an expert..Any stories?

  25. July 29, 2009 2:23 am

    Dale and Sheila,

    Sounds nice to me : )

    Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot of the history of the area. But, I bet if you go to the museum in Walden, someone there can help you out.
    Otherwise, enjoy North Park. I headed up to the northern part of the Zirkels this coming weekend. But, it’s all nice.
    Thanks for stopping by.
    GeoffW

  26. Jasia permalink
    September 6, 2009 4:37 pm

    My husband is en route to the Zirkels for elk hunting, lucky guy! If he is lucky, he will have some meat to transport back to WI. He is looking for a place that will process and freeze. You mentioned the grocer in Walden. Will they do this processing? any recommendations? We would like to support the local processor, if possible.
    Thanks,
    from the flatlands of WI, Jasia

  27. September 7, 2009 2:33 am

    Jasia,

    I’m pretty sure that the local grocery store will store hunter’s elk (deer, or whatever) in their walkin freezer for a fee. And, if they don’t do the actual processing themselves, they will know who to have your husband contact. So, I’d definitely have your husband (if he gets some meat : ) go to the local grocery store and talk to the butcher there. It’s just a little less than a mile north of town on the right hand side of the highway as you are driving north out of Walden (its the only grocery store around, so anyone can direct him to it : )

    If he goes in, have him ask to see “Ruth” to say hi (that’s my mom and she’ll get a kick out of it : ) She knows all the locals and who to contact.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Geoff Weatherford

  28. Phyllis Harris permalink
    September 15, 2009 1:47 am

    Geoff, I just got back from my first trip to Walden (for the funeral of Don Gore, a past Colorado Game and Fish man, trapper and District Wildlife Manager) even though my sister-in-law has lived there since 1960! It was a great trip, beautiful scenery and the weather was perfect! I really enjoyed your pictures, much better than what I took from the car.

  29. September 17, 2009 2:13 am

    Phyllis,

    Thanks for stopping by.
    Sorry to hear about Don Gore. But, maybe now you will go back for another visit to just enjoy the area.
    Speaking of which, I need to head that way myself and see my sister and mom : )

    Take care.

    Geoff Weatherford

  30. Carla Nichols permalink
    September 23, 2009 9:38 pm

    As a young girl we lived in walden and in the surrounding area,I love the mountains and your pictures bring back a lot of memories,I miss that place I got to go back in 2006 it really makes me homesick for the area.

  31. October 6, 2009 1:47 am

    Hi, Carla.

    Glad you enjoyed the photos. I really should be back there now taking some more. This is a great time of year in Walden. Although, I think they did get their first snowfall in town.

    Thanks,
    Geoff Weatherford

  32. Lane Parker permalink
    November 28, 2009 10:42 am

    Geoff, I was raised in Walden, my mother is Delita Swayze. You might know her or some of the Swayze family. My grandfather was the sheriff way back when. I still have some family that lives up there and I am still close with most of the locals. Sad to say that I am no longer in the area, or Colorado for that matter. Got stationed in 29 Palms, CA. I miss Walden more than anything these days and cant wait to get back. Thanks for all the information and pictures. Keep up the site, not many out there about Walden or North Park.

  33. November 29, 2009 3:43 am

    Lane,

    Thanks for stopping by. I don’t know Delita Swayze. But, my mom and sister probably do. They live in Walden and I just get to visit. My mom works at the local grocery store and probably knows just about everyone.

    I think Walden is going to be around quite some time. And, will stay the same. So, visit when you get the chance. I’ll bet you it will still look and feel the same as the last time you were around (they did upgrade a couple of the motels).
    Thanks,
    GeoffW

  34. Vance O. Richardson II permalink
    March 6, 2010 3:30 am

    Geoff,

    My great grandmother homesteaded in Walden in the 1890′s, Lulu Hankins, and was one of the founding members with my great grandfather William F. Hankins. Mr. Hankins was a clockmaker and his clocks are in the court house and used to be in the bank, also. My great grandmother told us of fording the Michigan (no bridges!) and losing half of their belongings in the process. They had five children and my grandmother, Alice, was the youngest. My grandfather, Vance Owen Richardson was a business owner and had a restaurant, pool hall/fountain and liquor store on main street (“Corner Liquor”). Nonetheless, I have (or had) many relatives in that area (Hankins, Dodge, Huston, etc.). My grandfather and my Dad (Vance L.) had the house band at the Elkhorn Bar for many years (I believe they were called “The Rhythm Rustlers” featuring “Little Vancie”) my dad played drums and sang from the age of nine years old until he graduated from Jackson County High in 1955. I spent a lot of my youth up there in the sixties and seventies, but sadly lost the true connection after my grandmother and grandfather passed away. My dad also died in 1999, and with that event another part of the “connection” to Walden and North Park. We have stayed at the Powderhorn Cabins many times in the recent years, as my wife also spent many summers there (from Loveland, CO or home now) in her childhood. I am so glad to find your website and will be sure to save it into my favorites. I am also so very happy to see that Walden has changed little, and will be visiting there again this summer, with my two boys. The Pioneer Museum is like stepping into my own virtual private family history album, I just love that place, not to mention, the entire area.

    Thank-you for this web site, and keep up the great work!

    Vance Owen Richardson II and Family

    • March 10, 2010 2:46 am

      Vance,

      Now that is some GREAT information. I’ve had trouble finding out the history of both Walden and the surrounding area. (Although, I have to admit I haven’t spent much time in the museum. So, all my fault.) So, really nice to hear some first hand accounts.
      Yes, yes, please go visit when you get the chance. They still have a great fair every summer. And a rodeo. And they occasionally host a hot air balloon race. So, if you are taking kids, might want to schedule it to happen around those times.
      Anyway, thank you very much for stopping by. And I appreciate the nice comments about my web site.
      Geoff Weatherford

  35. Jo Reed permalink
    March 24, 2010 7:38 pm

    I was looking for the date for the rodeo for this year since I will be there due to a 40 year class reunion, and just happened to open this site. I am at work right now, so plan to visit your site again later and look at the pictures and read the comments. There are a few names that I recognize and want to read more. I attended school in Walden from 3rd -10th grade and then our family moved to Ft Collins whereI graduated from High School in 1970. I always loved it in Walden and it was a fun place to grow up, even though we thought there was nothing to do when we were in high school. More later.

    Jo (Gunn) Reed

    • April 13, 2010 2:08 am

      Jo,

      Wow. I mean WOW! Lets see, I graduated from Fort Collins HS in 1968. Can’t remember if my brother followed me or went to Poudre High School instead. Went straight into CSU (and got a high number from the ballot so missed Vietnam). Goodness, how times fly. And, they were good times.

      Well, you spent some good years in Walden. I passed through the town in the late 60s and early 70s on the way to Steamboat Springs. Walden was pretty small then and I don’t remember much about it (of course, at that time I wouldn’t have appreciated what I saw anyway : )
      Anyway, yep, they still put on a good rodeo each summer. Not to mention occasionally having hot air balloon festivals and other crazy things. So, great place to visit in the summer.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Geoff Weatherford

  36. Leah Brown permalink
    April 2, 2010 1:34 pm

    Thank you for the pictures. I lived at the Ozark-Mahoning mine camp from the Fall of 1970 to Fall of 1971. I attended Kindergarten and part of First Grade at Walden Elementary. We did our grocery shopping in Cowdrey, I think. It’s hard to believe we lived there such a short time, because I have a mountain of memories.

    Your photo of the court house brought to mind an Easter egg hunt on the Court House lawn. The grand prize egg yielded a bicycle for the winner!

    My brother and I used to go on hikes together. I still remember hunting for crockus flowers. Once we even walked all the way to the little general store at a nearby highway junction (King’s Corner?)

    I remember walking up the terraced hillside of the mining camp to see my Dad working at the mine. I also remember watching the haul trucks rumbling round the side of the mountain with their loads of fluorspar.

    All these are tresured memories. Thanks again for the photos!

    • April 13, 2010 2:01 am

      Leah,

      Thanks for visiting. That’s a while back and there was a little more going on in Walden and the surrounding area at that time. Not sure exactly when, but from what I hear a lot of things shut down during the next decade or so. Mines, railroad lines, etc. Of course, the ranchers are hanging on. And, they got some oil wells drilled. Even started up a large wood pellet mill that’s doing pretty well (helping to clean up all that beetle kill; oh yeah, all the beetle kill has changed the way things look to some degree).
      Anyway, although Cowdry and Kings Corner have sorta died out (Cowdry “just” hanging in there), Walden itself seems to be doing okay. Lots of activity in the summer and fall. And, quite a few travelers stopping in on their way to Steamboat Springs in the winter months.
      Stop by some time in Walden and check it out : )

      Regards,

      Geoff Weatherford

      • Carolyn Kitelinger Lewis permalink
        July 12, 2010 4:06 am

        I’m interested in Leah’s comments that she lived in the Ozark Mahoning mine camp from 1970-1971. Was it reopened at some time?

        I, also, lived in that camp until it was closed in – 1959 or 1960. My Dad was the last miner out; he had been with Ozark Mahoning for many years and transferred to Illinois where he continued with the same company until retirement. My Mother (Elizabeth aka “Chunky” Mitchell) ran the cook shack for the mine, as well, and later owned the Elkhorn Bar and Cafe.

        My BFF from high school is currently one of the writers for the local rag, “The Jackson County Star.”

      • Carolyn Kitelinger Lewis permalink
        July 13, 2010 1:55 am

        This is an addendum to my previous entry about the mining camp and an apology to Leah for doubting her. I remembered, today, that when I used to drive up to see my mom in Walden – in the 70′s – I saw strip mining taking place on the top and side of the mountain (above the old mine) and above Kings Canon.
        The earlier mining, when I lived in the camp, was shaft mining.
        I think the strip mining is probably what Leah was referring to.
        And I know it’s not a big deal to most people but I grew up in that camp and have many memories…….

      • July 20, 2010 2:15 am

        Carolyn,

        Thanks for the update. I appreciate seeing all this interesting background on Walden. It’s one thing for people like me to drive through and visit the area. But, it’s much different for those who have some actual memories of living there. It becomes very personal. Particularly if it has changed over the years. Since change has become so rapid in the US over the last 50 years (well, for lots of places : ), it’s easy for some people to have had very different experiences in the same area over just a short span of time.

        To a large degree, that is still occurring in Walden. The summer tourist season is becoming more and more of a key economic factor in the area. This will cause many changes.

        In addition, there is a new large manufacturing base; wood pellets for stoves. It appears to be quite the going concern and I hope it continues to be successful (I’m assuming it’s successful right now based on what I know).

        At the same time, depending on various global economic factors, the mining and oil/gas industry could always return in a big way. And quickly.

        Finally, there is one constant in the area. That would be the agricultural business. Those ranchers keep on doing what they’ve been doing for a 100 years (or, maybe it’s a lot longer, don’t rightly know). It’s a very hard way to make a living (and it hasn’t gotten any easier due to things that this web site doesn’t dwell on, like politics : ), but the ranchers and their families are still a vital part of the Walden area.

        Anyway, interesting stuff.

        Thanks,

        Geoff Weatherford

  37. Kip Varner permalink
    May 12, 2010 11:36 pm

    I was actually born in Walden.My grand-parents ran a ranch a couple of miles east of town (Fisher Ranch).They retired and moved to Ft. Collins in the early 70′s. Come to think of it, my mother was also born in Walden. My brothers and I spent many summers in North Park and lived there off and on for several years. I left the area in the early 70′s but, still consider it “Home”.
    The pictures brought back a flood of memories. It is a “one of a kind” place and I think back to growing up there often.
    Thank you,
    Kip Varner

    • May 15, 2010 1:34 am

      Kip,

      Well, that’s quite the history you have with Walden. Hope you get back to visit occasionally. Pretty neat place (particularly in the summer/fall time of year : )

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

      Geoff Weatherford

  38. Paul permalink
    May 28, 2010 12:30 pm

    Geoff: Where are the good fishing lakes close to town? Driven through many times but want to explore this time.

    • May 29, 2010 4:23 pm

      There are quite a few lakes nearby to Walden. Some are man made like Lake John (about 30 minutes (or less)) from Walden that have some larger fish and are pretty popular. Sorta not the most scenic, but still nice. Good for people interested in the possibility of hooking some larger fish. Other similar lakes would be the Delaney Buttes lakes.
      Others like the Big Creek lakes (and associated streams) are about a one hour drive (not very far away, just the road is gravel/dirt and up in the national forest), and offer a more “scenic” environment, but with smaller fish (still good fishing, just not trophies : ) Those, and others, are reachable by the various forest access roads.
      I haven’t been to Lake John, but you can check my description of Big Creek to see some photos of the area.
      Of course, there are lots others. If you head east on I 14 out of Walden towards Cameron Pass, there are lakes in the State Forest area.
      Really, depends on exactly what type of fishing you are looking for.
      Almost forgot, there are outfitters in the area that take fisherman floating (using boats or rafts) down the Platte River. Some only private access and some public access. That can be an awesome fun time.
      Best thing to do would be to go there and check it out. There is a large national forest headquarters in town (open during the week), that will have a large supply of information on all lakes in the immediate vicinity, best roads/trails to get to them, and all the licensing info. Then, there are one or two stores in Walden that offer fishing tackle, guides, and more info (including stuff on who to contact for float trips, etc. If you are interested in doing a float trip, you might want to contact them in advance. The forest service in Walden could probably help in that area. Or, you could google with “float trips platte river walden colorado” and probably locate some leads.

      Good luck and have fun : )

      Geoff Weatherford

    • joe barnard permalink
      December 3, 2012 1:58 pm

      The last week I was at the mine site at Three Way north of Cowdrey – in the summer of 1968 three of us guys caught 33 (11 was the individual limit) Brook Trout in a beaver pond on Camp Creek in about 30 minutes.

  39. May 31, 2010 5:10 pm

    Hi I lived in cowdrey on the old Payne place from 51 to 60 we moved to walden from Texas. What a thrill to wake up snow on the ground which we had never seen I have many pictures of n.p. We had many fun times on the ranch. We always had kids out for sand dunes fun and picnics Walden will always be home to me. We went to the old cowdry school which consisted of two rooms. We rode on a sled from the old Cole place which was pulled bye a horse there is no place more beautiful than Jackson County.

    • June 3, 2010 2:22 am

      Rudy,

      Yep, still a great place. I think Cowdry has changed a bit since you went to school there, but there are a few families living there yet and one sorta store at the main corner (never been in it, but looks like something is going on : )
      The sand dunes are very popular for the dune buggy and two and three wheelers (you probably didn’t have to deal with those : )
      Anyway, thanks for stopping by.

      Geoff Weatherford

    • Carolyn Kitelinger Lewis permalink
      July 12, 2010 4:07 am

      Ruby, Where are you now? I remember the “old” days and some of our wild times! Hope you’re doing well.

      • Clay Cullum permalink
        January 2, 2012 12:35 pm

        i also lived at the ozark mahoning mine camp.I attended North Park High School,during fall of 72 thru spring of 74. Met a ton of good people and will say that i miss North Park everyday, that place is something else. I have returned several times in the past years to visit my dear friends Rex and Chris Shaw and their family. North Park is a blessed place.

  40. Doug Johnson permalink
    May 31, 2010 8:44 pm

    Your pictures brought back some distant memories. My father was a seismographer with Amerada (now Amerada Hess) and we lived in Walden from 1955-57. I can remember fishing the Walden reservoir in an old wood flat boat. Dad would hang a lure off the back of the boat and he would troll for trout which were plentiful in those days. We had some good friends there by the name of Broughton and we took many trips into the mountains fishing. One of my fondest memories was walking outside after a big snow and enjoying the complete total silence created by the insulating effect of the snow. Back in those days we heated with wood and I can still remember stoking those stoves in the morning. God, it was wonderful. Thanks for the pics.

    • June 3, 2010 2:25 am

      Doug,

      They still do a lot of heating with wood in the area. I’m not much of a fisherman, but the people that are looking for the best lake fishing (nearby) go to Lake John and/or the Delaney Buttes lakes. That said, the lakes up in the mountains are still full of fish.

      Oh, and it still gets a lot of snow in the winter : )

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Geoff Weatherford

  41. Charlotte Grae permalink
    March 31, 2011 11:44 am

    Hi Geoff,
    Thanks for the site and great photos! I notice that your last post was in May of 2010 and am wondering if you still maintain the site. I am hoping to find a place to rent for the summer of 2011 for my family. My brother who has lived in Steamboat for 30 years is retired and has a piece of land and camp site at Lake John and will be there camping for the summer. I hope to bring my 90 year old mother (thinking it may be her last summer) up for a stay in a rental somewhere in the area within an hour of Lake John and have her kids and grandkids visit through out the summer.

    I a wondering if there is a newspaper for the area where I could post a request for a rental, or other means to start searching. I want to find something with aspen (moms favorite ) with only a few stairs. Of course, a view of her beloved Rockies would be the topping on the cake!

    If you have any direction for my search, I would most appreciate it!
    Charlotte Grace

    • Phyllis Harris permalink
      March 31, 2011 12:44 pm

      Charlotte,
      Maybe you would like to buy a nice place in Walden! My sister-in-law is putting hers on the market for around $100 K in April, would be a very nice summer cottage for vacationers!

    • April 17, 2011 1:01 pm

      Charlotte,

      I’ve posted 4 times so far in 2011. I think I may be confusing people, because my post descriptions have the date of the hike I went on and not the actual date of the post. I’m behind in my posting, so the four posts in 2011 so far are for hikes I did in 2010. I recently (April 2011) went to Moab, Utah for some hiking in Canyonlands and Arches and will be posting about that this month (after which I will finish posting my 2010 hikes : ) Walden does not, to my knowledge, have any paper that would list rentals. I’ll see if my sister knows of someone to contact in Walden. If so, I’ll pass that info on to you. Otherwise, probably best would be to use the Internet. Or, have your brother in Steamboat run over to Walden and check it out (less than a one hour drive). Also, your brother may be able to find rental info for Walden in a paper in Steamboat Springs.

      Thanks, GeoffW

  42. Barb S. permalink
    December 22, 2011 1:48 pm

    Great website. I was trying to find out some of the history of the bigger mines like Sweede Group, Zirkel, Wolverine etc. We even got a chance to go explore what is left of the chimney for the smelter. Beautiful country. My brother-in-law has a cabin close to Pearl on Wheeler creek. Does anyone know a local or a website that I could talk to or go to for more information. I have been in the Walden museum many times and have retreived some valuable information.

    • December 24, 2011 12:27 pm

      I’ll see if I can get a local contact in Walden that knows the history of the area.

      Thanks,

      Geoff Weatherford

  43. dave permalink
    March 4, 2012 10:23 am

    My wife and I are going to Walden next weekend (3/16-18.) Can you recommend any areas that we’d most likely see moose at this time of year? If it’s not too muddy we’d like to do some exploring in our jeep. Any good roads you recommen?
    Thanks!

    • March 4, 2012 12:00 pm

      Dave,

      This time of year they are all going to be still pretty low due to the snow in the higher elevations.

      I’ve seen a lot of them between Cameron Pass (highway 14) and Gould, CO. Particularly around the Colorado State Forest headquarters that is a few mile up from Gould towards Cameron Pass. In fact, that is a great place to stop and ask such questions. Really friendly rangers.

      Another place is the lookout over Arapahoe Refuge that is about 5 miles off the side of the road (highway 14) before Walden coming from Gould. Can usually see a lot of elk there also.

      If you are driving in towards Walden from Laramie, over highway 230 (in Wy) and highway 127 (after you cross the border into Co), you can see moose around there. There are forest service roads that take off from that highway which might lead to some good moose viewing. Such as the Fox Park turnoff or the Pelton Creek road (access road 898).

      Time of day is also important. Early morning and late afternoon being best. But, this time of year, and being moose : ), they kinda have their own routines.

      Another good local place to ask “where are the moose right now?” would be the Forest Service headquarters in Walden, Co. Pretty well staffed with helpful rangers. They would have the most uptodate info. I’d definitely check with them for sure.

      Have a great trip. Try and get to that area in July/August some time. Whole different world at that time of year.

      Thanks,

      Geoff Weatherford

      • Anonymous permalink
        March 4, 2012 4:41 pm

        Thanks so much, Geoff. I will print out your reply and take it with us. We’ll let you know if we have any luck. We’ve never been to Walden. This getaway trip is a birthday gift from my wife.
        Cheers,
        ~dave

  44. Taylor permalink
    June 8, 2012 12:55 pm

    Geoff,

    I am originally from Fruita, Colorado and have moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University. I am an avid elk hunter and can not afford to drive back over the mountain twice in a weekend to hunt back home. Therefore, I have been searching for a new place to hunt elk over the counter during 2nd rifle season (about mid October). The closest area for me is Walden. I was wondering if you had any information that might help me or my father in law successfully harvest an elk this fall. This is his first time hunting so this hunt is really for him. I am guiding him and am trying to find out as much information as possible. I have looked at areas such as the Medicine Bow Mountains and up north into Routt National Forest. Hiking deep into the woods is not a problem. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Taylor

    • June 12, 2012 7:48 pm

      Taylor,

      Well, there are all sorts of ranches in the area that would provide you with a location to bed for the night and then hunt during the day. Then if you kill an elk, they can help pack it out.

      However, what I would recommend is to go to the Forest Service headquarters in Walden (during the week so that they are open), and talk to them about hunting in the area. They normally are pretty helpful about steering hunters to locations where they know the elk herd needs to be thinned. And, they know where the areas are that seem to get the most elk killed each year.

      In addition, they may be able to help you figure out the somewhat byzantine set of laws and areas that are open for hunting in North Park. Or, at least point you in the right direction. They “may” also have more info about ranches in the area (local stores would be a good area to ask for that info also). Of course, they may point you to the Fish and Wildlife division. That department has a office in Fort Collins, so you might consider visiting them also if you have not already done so.

      Then, once you’ve done that, you could spend a day or two driving around to some of the different areas to familiarize yourself with the back roads and different access routes.

      Since I’ve never hunted there myself, that’s about the best I can do as far as advice. The area is definitely quite popular during the hunting season, but I think there is room enough for more.

      Good luck,

      GeoffW

  45. Vance O. Richardson II permalink
    June 12, 2012 8:56 pm

    Geoff,

    Seeing names like Varner and Hanson brings back memories of my father (Vance L. Richardson) telling stories about his high school days. I just wish I could remember first names.

  46. joe barnard permalink
    December 3, 2012 1:53 pm

    I worked for the Wayne Knight Construction Company during the summer of 1968 between highschool and college. Wayne Knight Construction from Rosiclaire Illinois was contracted by Ozark Mahoning to clean up and reopen the mining and milling operation. My uncle was a Chemical Engineer of Ozark Mahoning – Chemical in Tulsa, Oklahoma hence my opportunity to work on the project. One of the best summers of my life, beautiful country. I remember C.C Jecks (sp) the postmaster in Cowdrey and (I can’t remember his name) the caretaker who had lived with his wife and Nowegin Elkhound on the mine site — a really neat fellow and beautiful dog. Also remember Dr. French in Walden — LOL he remove a piece of steel from my knee but he read the X-ray upside down and ended up having to make 2 holes in my knee to find it, I kidded him about it serveral years later when my family and I visited.

    • December 9, 2012 4:06 pm

      Barnarjd,

      Thanks for stopping by my site. It’s great to hear about some of the past history from people who were actually there.

      Things change, but I bet that if you visited Walden today you’d still recognize it. Of course, North Park, the Rawahs, and the Zirkels are all the same.

      Thanks,

      GeoffW

      ________________________________

  47. kris berglund ruhe permalink
    March 26, 2013 9:48 pm

    I’m in search of my father’s Uncle Charles Berglund and his wife Sophie Erickson. My father has found Sophie’s grave in Waldon. But is unable to find his Uncle Charles, who was a trapper in the who supposedly lived in Waldon or nearby and no information on either. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    • March 28, 2013 5:53 pm

      I think I would start at the local library and/or court house. They probably would know of some local people that might be able to help with historical references for the Walden area. This may include some old rancher families that may still be in the area.

      I’ll also ask someone I know that lives in the area. But it could take a while to get a reply.

      Thanks,

      GeoffW

      ________________________________

      • Vance O. Richardson II permalink
        March 29, 2013 7:33 am

        Another historical resource for the area is the North Park Pioneer Museum.

        87 Logan Street
        Walden, CO 80480
        Phone: (970) 723-3282

        Office Hours:
        Thursday-Tuesday
        Closed Wednesday
        10:00 AM to 4:00PM

        http://www.northparkpioneermuseum.com/index.html

        The local newspaper The Jackson County Star may also be a good source for historical information.

        417 5th St
        Walden, CO 80480‎
        Phone: (970) 723-4404

        Good Luck!

      • March 30, 2013 2:35 pm

        Very good suggestion. 

        Thanks,

        GeoffW

        ________________________________

      • April 2, 2013 8:31 pm

        Got some more info (from the Museum in Walden)

        “…….Sophie and Charlie are mentioned in Hazel Gresham’s “North Park” book (p. 245). Charlie is on the list of deceased that the museum keeps; he died between June 1944 and June 1945 (we date the list from one Pioneer Reunion to the next, rather than Jan-Dec).   There is likely an obituary in The Jackson County Star, but someone would have to go through all of the papers for 44-45 to find it…….”

        Hope that helps.

        Good luck.

        Geoff Weatherford

        ________________________________

      • Anonymous permalink
        April 3, 2013 4:54 am

        I’m so grateful for all your help and suggestions. I’m looking forward to having time next week to further my search. You’ve all been amazing. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kris Berglund

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