Fremont County is located in south-central Colorado on the southeastern edge of Colorado’s Front Range and southwest of Pikes Peak. Elevations in the county range from just under 5,000’ in the southeastern corner of the county, where the Colorado Piedmont section of the Great Plains meets the Southern Rocky Mountains, to over 13,000’ on Bushnell Peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that form the County’s southwestern boundary.
Learn more about Fremont County’s Geology.
Primary ecoregions range from Piedmont Plains and Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands in the east through Foothill Shrublands to Mid-Elevation Forests in the western portion of the County. Over 80% of Fremont County is located in the Southern Rockies and 17% in Piedmont Plains and Tablelands. 47% of land in the county is privately owned, 36% is managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 10% is managed by the US Forest Service, and 7% is owned by the State of Colorado.
The Arkansas River bisects Fremont County, running west to east. It enters the county at an elevation of about 6,900’ and leaves the county at about 5,000’. The Arkansas River Headwaters Recreation Area is a Colorado State Park that manages the myriad of recreational activities in the area, including whitewater rafting, fishing in Gold Medal trout waters, hiking, biking, etc. with over 700,000 visitors per year.
The Royal Gorge is a 1,000’ deep, 10-mile long, extremely narrow canyon cut by the Arkansas River. About 30’ wide at its narrowest point, the gorge opens out just above Cañon City and Florence and dramatically defines the entrance to the Southern Rockies. Below the gorge, “the mountain and valley winds are persistent enough to modify the climate over a considerable area. Descending air currents frequently prevent the stratification of air necessary for the occurrence of excessive cold. As a consequence, the winter climate is milder near Cañon City and Penrose than anywhere else in the State.” (CSU, Climate of Colorado)
Highway access to Fremont County is provided primarily by Highway 50 about 35 miles west of I-25 and Pueblo, Colorado. Highway 50 travels past Penrose to Cañon City, then continues west along the Arkansas River to Salida and beyond. Highway 50 passes through Parkdale, Texas Creek, Cotopaxi, Coaldale, Howard, Swissvale, and Wellsville in western Fremont County. Colorado Route 69 travels south from Texas Creek to Hillside.
Colorado Route 69 travels south from Texas Creek to Hillside, CO-115 provides primary access to Fremont County about 35 miles southwest of Colorado Springs, and I-25 passes through Penrose and on to Florence and area communities of Rockvale, Coal Creek, Williamsburg, Brookside and Lincoln Park. CO-115 intersects with CO-120 traveling east to Portland and Concrete. CO-115 also intersects with CO-67, which travels south to Wetmore. CO-9 provides access to Fremont County from the north, intersecting US-50 about one mile west of the turnoff for the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park.
The Gold Belt Scenic Byway serves the Cañon City/Florence area over four historic roads: Phantom Canyon Road, Shelf Road, High Park Road and Teller County Road 1.
If you want to read more about Fremont County’s Heritage, check out the following articles: