Nestled in the breathtaking landscape of Colorado, Hartsel stands as a hidden gem known as “The Heart of Colorado.” Founded in 1880, this charming town, located at the geographical center of the state, boasts a rich history and a plethora of outdoor adventures. Let’s dive into the heart of Hartsel and discover the unique attractions and recreational opportunities that make it a must-visit destination.

History: Hartsel owes its name to Samuel Hartsel, a visionary cattle rancher and farmer who settled in the area in 1860. Originally drawn by the allure of mining, Hartsel soon recognized the potential for prosperity in agriculture. He expanded his 160-acre homestead into an impressive 10,000 acres and developed the renowned Hartsel hot springs. Although the hot springs resort is no longer operational, visitors can still explore its historic ruins, offering a glimpse into the town’s vibrant past.

Main Attractions:

  1. Antero Reservoir: Built in 1909 as the first dam on the South Platte River, Antero Reservoir is a mere 15-minute drive west of downtown Hartsel. The reservoir is a haven for fishing and boating enthusiasts, providing a serene setting to cast a line or enjoy a leisurely boat ride.


1. Camping: South Park, the region surrounding Hartsel, offers abundant camping opportunities. Scattered campgrounds in all directions and free dispersed camping options beckon outdoor enthusiasts to experience the beauty of the surroundings.

2. Fishing: Hartsel is a haven for fishing enthusiasts, with the South Platte River flowing through town and providing numerous public access points. The “Dream Stream,” a famed portion of the South Platte River between Spinney and Eleven Mile State Parks, promises an unforgettable fishing experience.

3. Hiking: With access to three picturesque lakes?Antero Reservoir, Spinney Mountain Reservoir, and Eleven Mile Reservoir?Hartsel beckons hikers to explore its scenic trails. Additionally, Eleven Mile State Park offers nearly 5 miles of trails in the Coyote Ridge area, perfect for those seeking a nature-filled adventure.

Hartsel, Colorado, stands as a testament to the beauty and recreational opportunities that the Centennial State has to offer. From its historical roots in ranching and agriculture to the diverse outdoor activities available today, Hartsel is a destination that captures the essence of Colorado’s natural wonders. Whether you’re casting a line into the South Platte River, embarking on a hiking adventure, or simply soaking in the town’s rich history, Hartsel is a true gem waiting to be discovered in the heart of the Rockies.

Credit: For more information and to plan your visit, the details about Hartsel, Colorado were sourced from the official website of Hartsel, Colorado at and Uncover Colorado’s guide to Hartsel at

Areas: Hartsel, Park County, Colorado

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