Native Tribes

The archaeological record of Grand County shows evidence of human occupation dating to about 11,000 years ago during the Clovis, Folsom, and Plano periods. Paleo-Indians occupied the area until about 7,500 years ago. The projectile points found throughout the region display a variety of technologies throughout this period.

The first modern Native Tribe to occupy the region were the Utes. By about the sixteenth century the Utes had migrated into Colorado’s mountains. They were hunter-gatherers who travelled throughout the Rockies, following game herds and gathering berries, roots, and other dietary plants. They hunted elk, deer, antelope, and bison and lived in portable or temporary dwellings such as tipis or wickiups. In the seventeenth century, after contact with Spanish explorers and settlements to the south, the Utes acquired horses, which expanded their hunting and raiding territory. The Utes spent winters camped near the natural hot springs by present-day Hot Sulphur Springs, which they used to revitalize both body and spirit.

By the early 1800s, Arapaho and Cheyenne people began hunting in the Middle Park area during the summer, although they spent much of the year on the plains.