Hiking Doc Holiday Glenwood Springs, Co USA

Doc Holiday trail

There is a lot to take in within this area. Each new site sheds a different color, and dazzles the eyes as autumn warms the heart and soul.  The energy of  cold is approaching and one can hear the changing season.  Take a deep breath and smell Thanksgiving right around the corner. The air is just getting the bite of winter into it.  A new energy abounds.

Pioneer trail is dynamic and can be easily turned into a half a day trail system. It’s a short, steep hike, or bike ride to the Cemetery. The Cemetery is a good warm-up and an interesting place.   Doc Holiday is buried in this cemetery and is a quick reminder as to how things were a hundred years ago in the Rocky Mountains, the Old West and Colorado.

Dr. John Henry Holiday was not a man with whom I would want to get into a gun slinging contest. John began his career as a dentist in the south in the 1870’s. After discovering he had tuberculosis, no one would visit his practice in fear that he might break into a horrific cough. So, Doc decided to come west. The doctors had told John that the drier air of the west would be good for his disease. He was only given one year to live.

After discovering his natural instincts for the game of poker, he found a new way to make a living. However, gambling in the west was the way some survived. Doc carried a six gun on his hip and one on his shoulder, along with a knife. He used them at will. Running from the law, Doc found himself in towns all over the west. His reputation grew. Many believed that Doc liked to kill but this was not true.

Doc Holiday trail2

Doc ran into a lady friend with whom he had periodic affairs throughout his life. “Big Nose” Kate, broke him out of jail.  He felt he owed her for all of her help, so he married her.  He ventured from Dodge City to Tombstone, and through Colorado on several occasions. Many times he ran into people that wanted to prove themselves by taking him down. The price on his head was large because of his huge reputation. He had a strong relationship with Wyatt Earp. Wyatt and Doc became friends after Doc shot the two men who had planned to hang Wyatt. They later became most famous for their showdown at the O.K. Corral. Wyatt said of Doc, “He was the most skillful gambler and the nerviest, fastest, deadliest man with a six-gun I ever saw.” No one succeeded in killing Doc, including the law. Although he claimed that he almost lost his life nine times: four attempts to hang and ambushed five others.

After a long battle with Tuberculosis, Doc decided to go to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, to try the sulfur vapors. He spent his last fifty-seven days in bed. On November 8, 1887, he awoke and asked for a glass of whiskey. It was given to him.  After he drank it down, with enjoyment, he said, “This is funny”, and died. (For more information about Doc Holiday and the Old West, visit: http://www.americanwest.com

He is buried in Glenwood Springs, Colorado at Pioneer Cemetery.

*Feature written and photographed by Phillips November, 2000.  The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association supplied much of the documented information, and America West web page was also a large contributor to this information.



Behind the graveyard is Glenwood’s signature Mountain Bike Trail. It features quite a vertical climb from the graveyard, some great views of Mt. Sopris, and a wild down hill. To find out more about this trail and others featured in this web site you can call The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association at 970.945.6589 or go to: http://www.glenwoodspringscolorado.com

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Globetrotter Adventures
Carbondale, CO 81623