On our way from Denver to Grand Junction my husband wanted to stop and see Doc Holliday’s grave. This is something awesome about road trips, that you can stop off and see things along the way that you probably wouldn’t see if you were only staying in major cities.
If you have never head of Doc Holliday before, you might need to brush up on your history of the wild wild west! John Henry “Doc” Holliday was born in 1851 and trained as a dentist in Pennsylvania, before moving to Georgia to work. He was diagnosed with tuberculosis and thought that moving to the south-west would be better for his health. He then became a gambler (which was a respectable occupation at that time) and was also a sheriff and a Deputy U.S Marshal. He was good friends with Wyatt Earp and got himself into a bit of mischief, including being one of the main players in ‘The Gunfight at the O.K. Corral‘.
He died in Glenwood Springs in 1887 (aged only 36) due to his ill health. The exact location of his gravesite is subject to speculation. Some people think that his remains were returned to Georgia, while other people believe he is located at the Pioneer Cemetery In Glenwood Springs but are unsure of the exact location. This is why the gravesite actually says it is a memorial and he is buried ‘somewhere’ in the cemetery.
I hadn’t read much about the cemetery before we left, and I was told that the grave was a “short stroll” from the road. Next minute I am doing a hike up the side of a mountain! That may be a bit of an exaggeration, it is about a 10-20 minute walk up a steep hill so if you are prepared for that then it is fine. The views are also quite nice which is lucky for my husband as I forgave him for dragging me up there..
The start of the trail is located at Bennett Ave & 12th St Ditch, Glenwood Springs, CO. This is a residential street which we easily found parking on but please be respectful not to park in anyone’s driveway or trespass on any property. If you are wanting to use public transport there are a number of buses that stop along Grand Ave and you can walk up 12th Street Ditch.
The start of the trail is very well signposted and has some information and a rest bench. We also saw a cute little kitty having a nap!
You just start walking up the trail and keep walking and walking! Part way up there is a tree covered in coloured ribbons. This doesn’t really have anything to do with Doc’s grave but was started by a local lady named Annie while going through cancer treatment. The ribbons and other nick-nacks are meant to represent hopes and wishes and can be seen from the houses below. If I had of known about this tree before I went up I would have taken something to add.
For a fairly obscure trail off the main road there were actually quite a few people walking up and down, I think we passed by about 5 different groups during our walk.
Once you get to the top there are a number of signs pointing you through the other gravestones to Doc’s grave. It is fenced off to prevent vandalism, although that doesn’t stop there from being a few bullet holes.
It does seem a bit odd to be visiting a cemetery as a tourist attraction however it is a historic site from the 1800s so I don’t believe there are any recent burials there. In any case it feels important to be quiet and well mannered while you are up there.
On the way back down we got to see the kitty again who had found a cool spot under the bench.
Even though there is debate over whether this is the “real” gravesite it still makes an interesting stop to stretch your legs and see some of the Colorado landscape.
Have you ever been up to Doc’s grave?