- Fairplay began as a gold-mining town in the second half of the 19th century. Dredge, placer and shaft mining operations were scattered throughout the hills surrounding the town site. Today most of the mines are closed or operate on a very small scale. Anyone interested in the history of western mining will find Fairplay a rustic gem.
Copyright: Amy Pyle-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
South Park City, an outdoor museum in Fairplay, portrays life in the west during the mining era
One site within the town of Fairplay that history buffs won't want to miss is the South Park City Museum. (I actually spent an hour and a half in the museum and didn't check my watch once!) The $5.00 entrance fee gets you a self-guided tour of 30 buildings and thousands of artifacts brought to the site from the surrounding mining communities.
Windy Ridge Scenic Area (outside of Alma) harbors examples of Bristlecone Pine, the oldest living tree known on Earth. A four-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to obtain a look at these ancient beauties. This area is a favorite place for photographers and artists.
Recreation - The area immediately surrounding the town site of Fairplay is BLM land and usually that means trails and roads for motorcycling and four-wheel driving. The Pike National Forest surrounds the BLM land and includes many attractions and recreation opportunities. Mt. Bross, Lincoln, Democrat and Cameron can be found northwest of Alma. Southwest of Fairplay lies the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Area for backpacking, hiking and horseback riding. Stop by the South Park Ranger District office in Fairplay to talk to someone who knows the area.
Climate - The elevation of Fairplay is 10,000 feet, therefore it tends to be cold when the sun isn't shining. When the sun is shining be sure to wear protection, because the air is thinner and filters fewer harmful UV rays. At this elevation the weather can change quickly. Be prepared for dramatic changes in temperature and all varieties of precipitation.
Fairplay lies on the northwest perimeter of South Park. Highways 285 and 9 intersect and form the eastern border of this small town(population 500, elevation 10,000). Highway 9 leads southwest to Summit County, where Breckenridge lies immediately beyond Hoosier Pass. Highway 285 leads northeast 85 miles to Denver.