Fairplay’s convenient location makes it a popular stopping point for those exploring the Central Rockies. It’s most known for housing Old West museum town South Park City, a TV show with the same name, and for being the trout fishing capital.
The town lies at the junction of U.S. 285 and Highway 9, about an hour and a half from Denver. Heading north on State Highway 9 brings you to Breckenridge, and heading south on Highway 9 takes you to Hartsel in 20 minutes. If you continue southwest on U.S. 285 you’ll end up by Buena Vista in under 45 minutes.
As of 2020 the town had 724 permanent residents, making it the most populated area in Park County as well as the county seat. It is within the top 5 highest incorporated towns in Colorado, sitting at 9,953 feet. It was settled during the Gold Rush in 1859, and its name comes from the community protesting for more equitable mining claims.
South Park City – A restored 19th-century mining camp and museum. There are some original buildings and others were imported from South Park, Colorado, a 900 square mile basin in the Rockies. You can visit the museum year-round.
While Fairplay does house a ghost town museum called South Park City, it’s not actually the town of South Park. The TV show town is named for South Park, Colorado, a huge basin that encompasses Fairplay, Alma, Como, Jefferson, Tarryall, Hartsel, Guffey, and Lake George.
Fairplay Beach – Hidden below Fairplay’s historic Front Street, Fairplay Beach is centered around a beautiful high elevation pond. It’s fed by the Middle Fork of the South Platte River, offering opportunities for hiking, fishing, picnicking, and sightseeing.
- Middlefork RV park is located right in the town, provides numerous RV spots and even has its own trout fishing pond.
- Fourmile Campground is ideal if you are looking for something a little more secluded and close to nature. It is also near 14er Mount Sherman.
- Read about the camping near Fairplay and South Park.
- The Middle Fork of the South Platte River runs by town, so trout fishing is close by.
- There are also a slew of terrific reservoirs spread around the South Park Basin. These include Tarryall Reservoir, Jefferson Reservoir, Antero Reservoir, Spinney Mountain Reservoir, and Eleven Mile Reservoir.
- Read about the lakes and rivers to fish near Fairplay and Bailey.
- Rich Creek trail can be combined with Tumble Creek trail to create a beautiful, moderate loop through the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.
- Wheeler Lake trail is popular if you are looking for spectacular mountain views and an alpine lake at the end. It connects many popular 14ers including Quandary Peak, Mt. Lincoln, Mt. Bross, and Mt. Democrat.
- Read about the hiking trails near Fairplay.
Hand Hotel Bed & Breakfast – Stay in this cozy, but supposedly haunted bed and breakfast with 11 rooms. It overlooks the South Platte River in downtown Fairplay.
Riverside Inn – A cozy, basic hotel with mountain views, and on-site ATV rentals to kickstart your adventures around the area.
American Safari Ranch – Grab your cowboy boots and come explore this classic American ranch. They have premier horseback riding, western BBQ cookouts, and plenty of space to explore.
Read about the best hotels by Fairplay.
Park Bar – Cozy up next to the indoor fireplace while you enjoy a drink and pub fare at this local favorite.
Salado – Gourmet southwestern bistro serving up unique dishes in a modern space.
Platte River Saloon – Western inspired decor and menu featuring pizza and subs.
Read about the best bars in Fairplay and Alma.
Feb – Fairplay Mardi Gras Celebration – Authentic Cajun cuisine, a costume contest, crowning of the Mardi Gras king and queen, and a cash bar make this celebration a blast for everyone.
Jun – TGIFairplay Free Concert Series – Join your neighbors for free, live music on Front Street.
Jul – Silverheels 100 Mile Endurance Run – Part of the Human Potential Running Series, this run takes you through alpine terrain, past ghost towns, and into wildflower fields.
Jul – Park County Fair – Classic county fair with vendors, a rodeo, and lots of food and ride options.
Jul – Burro Days Celebration – A weekend long, historic event centered around a burro race. There is also a parade, cowboy church, llama races, and live music.
Activities near Fairplay
- Breckenridge Alpine Slide (22mi)
- Antero Reservoir (23mi)
- Buffalo Peaks Wilderness
- Jefferson Lake Recreation Area (23mi)
- Lost Creek Wilderness
- Mount Bross (13mi)
- Mount Cameron (13mi)
- Mount Democrat (11mi)
- Mount Lincoln (14mi)
- Pike National Forest
- Quandary Peak (15mi)
- San Isabel National Forest
- South Platte River
- White River National Forest
- Antero Junction (21mi)
- Boreas Pass (20mi)
- Georgia Pass (28mi)
- Hoosier Pass (11mi)
- Kenosha Pass (20mi)
- Mosquito Pass 4×4
- Weston Pass 4×4 (20mi)
- Breckenridge Ski Resort (23mi)
- Alma (5mi)
- Bailey (39mi)
- Breckenridge (22mi)
- Buena Vista (37mi)
- Como (10mi)
- Frisco (31mi)
- Grant (28mi)
- Guffey (45mi)
- Hartsel (18mi)
- Jefferson (16mi)
- Lake George (44mi)