Mesa Verde National Park, located in southwest Colorado, is home to some of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in the world. These ancient structures were built by the Ancestral Puebloans over 700 years ago and provide a glimpse into the lives of these ancient people.
Summit County, located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, has a rich and diverse history. Native American tribes, including the Ute and Arapaho, first inhabited the region for thousands of years before the arrival of European settlers. These tribes utilized the area's abundant natural resources for hunting, fishing, and gathering.

In the mid-1800s, the discovery of gold brought a wave of prospectors to Summit County. The town of Breckenridge, founded in 1859, became a bustling mining center as miners flocked to the area in search of gold, silver, and other precious minerals. Numerous mining towns, such as Montezuma, Frisco, and Dillon, also sprung up to support the mining industry.

The mining boom eventually declined in the late 19th century due to falling mineral prices and depletion of ore reserves. As mining faded, agriculture and ranching became more prominent in Summit County. The county's fertile valleys and mountain meadows were ideal for farming and grazing livestock. Agriculture, along with the timber industry, sustained the local economy for decades.

In the 20th century, Summit County underwent a transformation into a popular tourist destination. The construction of ski resorts, such as Copper Mountain, Breckenridge Ski Resort, and Keystone Resort, brought an influx of visitors seeking outdoor recreational opportunities. Today, Summit County attracts millions of tourists each year who come to enjoy skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, and other outdoor activities in the stunning Rocky Mountain setting.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Summit County, Colorado.

  • 1800s: The area that would become Summit County was inhabited by several Native American tribes, including the Ute and Arapaho.
  • 1859: Gold was discovered in the area, leading to the Pike's Peak Gold Rush. This attracted many fortune seekers to the region.
  • 1861: Summit County was officially established as one of Colorado's original 17 counties.
  • 1881: The Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad reached the county, connecting it to the rest of the state and facilitating further growth.
  • 1882: The Town of Breckenridge was founded and soon became one of the major mining towns in the area.
  • 1942-1945: During World War II, the U.S. Army established Camp Hale in Summit County as a training facility for mountain troops, known as the 10th Mountain Division.
  • 1960s: The development of ski resorts in Summit County began with the opening of Arapahoe Basin (1961) and Breckenridge Ski Resort (1961).
  • 1970s: Keystone Resort (1970) and Copper Mountain (1972) were established, solidifying Summit County's reputation as a premier skiing destination.
  • 1990s: The growth of tourism and recreational activities led to an increase in population and the development of new housing and infrastructure.
  • 2002: The Salt Lake City Winter Olympics featured many athletes trained at Colorado's high-altitude facilities, including those in Summit County.