FAIRPLAY, COLORADO

Fairplay, Colorado, is the statutory town that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Park County, Colorado, United States.  Fairplay is located in South Park at an elevation of 9,953 feet.

Fairplay is known as the official Trout Fishing Capital of Colorado.  Anglers, be sure to bring your fishing gear, as you’ll want to throw a line in more than 50 miles of Gold Medal trout streams.  By definition, these streams offer the highest quality trout habitat and greatest potential for angling success in Colorado.  Hikers, mountain bikers, hunters, OHVers and more find plenty of quiet places to keep them busy as well.

Fairplay, Colorado and the surrounding 1,000 square miles are part of the South Park National Heritage Area.   South Park’s 19th-century ranches, many old mines and other historic sites are the primary reason the area was given this designation in 2009.

In the days of the early pioneers, hopeful gold prospectors fanned out across the area. The town of Fair Play was established in 1859 at the junction of Beaver Creek and the South Platte River, and served as a supply center for nearby mining camps.

Fairplay, Colorado was rechristened as South Park City in 1869, then changed back to Fairplay (one word) in 1874.  As the mining industry faded, tourism, along with cattle-raising and hay-growing, became the economic mainstays of the area.

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THINGS TO DO IN FAIRPLAY

In Fairplay, Colorado itself, be sure to visit the South Park City Museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has a main street flanked by 40 or so historic buildings brought here from the surrounding area including a trapper’s cabin, a saloon, general store, blacksmith shop and other businesses that thrived in the late 1800s. This amazing collection is only open during the summer months and is run entirely by volunteers.  What’s more, art galleries and open-air art venues abound in and around the town proper.

Known today as the Trout Fishing Capital of Colorado, anglers seek out the area’s Gold Medal streams. And in 2009, South Park and the area around Fairplay were designated a National Heritage Area by the U.S. Congress for its distinctive landscapes, historic structures, recreational resources. Traveling around, you’ll see South Park’s 19th-century ranches, old mines and other historic sites.

On the edge of Fairplay lies South Park City, an extraordinary museum with 40 historic buildings.  It was created in the late 1950s by a group of citizens concerned that the old mining and ghost towns of Park County were being dismantled and destroyed.  The group recreated an 1800s gold mining town. Buildings were brought in from the high gulches of the Mosquito Range and from mining towns such as Alma, Leavick, Buckskin Joe and Montgomery. Most of these buildings showcase an array of period furnishings and equipment, and tours take you back in time to South Park’s early days.

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WEATHER IN FAIRPLAY

Fairplay, Colorado, weather can be delightful, with summer days in the 70s and cool, crisp nights.  At other times, temperatures can fall well below zero with high winds that foster sudden white-outs.  The key to enjoying all the seasons in Fairplay is to be prepared.  Whether summer or winter, protect yourself from too much sun.  At our high elevations and clear skies, the sun’s rays are more direct. With over 300 sunny days a year in Park County, wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses for best protection.

The low humidity makes both high and low temperatures more comfortable, especially in the sun.  But, since temperatures can fluctuate widely during the course of a day, dress in layers of clothing to stay comfortable at any time. In the summer, afternoon rains are common, so keep waterproof clothing handy.  Snow is possible in every month of the year and generally, the thermometer drops about four degrees for every 1,000 feet above sea level, so if you travel to some of our highest peaks, be prepared to don extra clothing.

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