Near Greenwood in Custer County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)
Frontier Pathways Scenic and Historic Byway
Even before Kinkead settled at the mouth of Hardscrabble Canyon, the canyon had been an important route used by Native Americans. They often came down from the mountains to trade beaver furs for guns, whiskey, and corn at the Buzzard's Roost Trading Post near present-day Wetmore.
Major John C. Fremont, "The Pathfinder,” went up Hardscrabble Canyon in 1848 on his ill-fated fourth expedition. The expedition guide was "Old Bill” Williams, one of many fur trappers who frequented the Wet Mountains between the 1820s and the early 1840s. "Old Bill” Williams, Kit Carson, Maurice Le Duc, and Uncle Dick Wooten trapped beaver on Hardscrabble Creek. Today, beaver still reside in the Wet Mountains.
Permanent settlers began farming, ranching, and logging the Hardscrabble Plateau in the 1860s. In 1863, William Bruce was murdered at his lumber mill by the infamous Espinosa Gang. The mill was on Hardscrabble Creek just east of this Wildlife Viewing Area.
In 1873, the first stagecoaches used the new Hardscrabble Canyon Road, making the trip from Pueblo to Rosita in twelve hours. At especially steep spots the passengers had to dismount from the stagecoach to lighten the load. Sometimes they had to help push!
In the early 1900s, horse-drawn buggies and wagons shared the road with automobile travelers. Cars often overheated requiring the drivers to fill their radiators with cool mountain water.
Right: As you travel through Hardscrabble Canyon, see if you can recognize some of the canyon's famous rock features – Lovers Leap (near mile marker 16) and Big and Little Sinking Ocean Liners (near mile marker 18.)
Erected by America's Byways; Colorado Division of Wildlife; and U.S. Forest Service.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Exploration • Native Americans • Roads & Vehicles • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Wetmore CO 81253, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 4 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Cliffhangers and Headbangers (here, next to this marker); Hardscrabble (approx. 6.1 miles away); a different marker also named Hardscrabble (approx. 6.1 miles away); Cuerno Verde (approx. 6.1 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 64 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on July 19, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.