The statue of Prunes, a donkey miners sent alone down the mountain into town with a shopping list tied to his harness, is a reminder of the harsh gold-mining years in Fairplay. The shopkeepers would load supplies onto Prunes then send him back up to the mining camps.
While you may not want to spend a full day in Fairplay, adding a drive here during a visit to Breckenridge, Keystone or Copper delivers dramatic cross the Continental Divide scenery. Or, it makes a great day trip from Denver via Highway 285.
Today, the town still has that rough-edged mining-era look. (The statue of Prunes is in the middle of town just off the Main St.) At one end of Main St. you’ll find South Park City Museum, a re-creation of an old mining town filled with authentic buildings from 1860 to the 1890’s.
Fairplay is a small town (pop. approx. 700) located in the Colorado mountains at almost 10,000 feet above sea level. It’s 85 miles from Denver and the most scenic, route is via US 285, which is two-lane highway much of the way. At approximately the half-way point you’ll crest Kenosha Pass and see the vast South Park plains spread out before you with the surrounding mountains in the distance. It’s a sight you’ll never forget.
Fairplay puts on several entertaining events throughout the year. For a schedule and more info visit either www.realfairplay.com. The Park County Tourism website has suggestions for a visit to Fairplay and a drive tour of Alma, the highest incorporated town in the US, and Buckskin Gulch where you’ll see the old Paris Mill, bristlecone pines and spectacular scenery from the top of the Rockies.