This 1908 stagecoach was one of the last used in northwest Colorado before the railroad was extended into Steamboat Springs. This well-preserved artifact represents how rough early transportation in rural parts of the state could be. Passengers paid $6.50 to board the wagon, which was pulled by four to six horses over treacherous, dangerous terrain—a two-day, 74-mile journey over two passes with an overnight stop in Yampa.
This artifact represents early transportation in rural part of the state.
It is one of 2 of our only remaining stagecoaches used in NWCO. Passengers rode the railroad to Wolcott, near the present-day junction of Interstate 70 and Route 131. There they paid $6.50 to board this stagecoach. It was called “The Pilot,” and its sister wagon was named “The Sentinel,” after Steamboat’s two newspapers. The wagons were pulled by four to six horses, and driving the teams over treacherous terrain was a dangerous job. The 2-day, 74-mile journey to Steamboat Springs climbed over Red Dirt Pass to Yampa, where weary travelers spent the night. The next day they continued over Yellow Jacket Pass to Steamboat. Once the railroad was extended into Steamboat in 1908, the stage line became obsolete. “The last leg of our journey from Yampa that spring of 1903 was rather nightmarish. The coach was heavily laden: the women and children rode inside, and the men passengers roosted precariously amid the baggage on top. We tipped over three times that day, Mother reported. And always the first indication to those within the coach that the vehicle was departing from vertical was the sight of supernumerary items like mail sacks, valises, and husbands flying through the air to land—sometimes upside down in a snow bank or quagmire.” From Headfirst in the Pickle Barrel: A Colorado Boyhood by John Rolph Burroughs.
Tread of Pioneers Museum
800 Oak St.
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477