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City of Glenwood Springs

Hike up to Doc Holliday’s Grave

By Savannah Nelson, June 17, 2019. This blog post was originally published on SunshineWithSavannah.com.


There’s a view of Glenwood Springs that’s hard to beat, and it’s in reach to locals and visitors alike. A trail leads to a series of expansive overlooks, marked by lush greenery, unexpected prayer flags, and an air of Old West mystery. Doc Holliday’s Grave is a hike worth doing—an experience that captures the essence of the historic mountain town.

Glenwood Springs. credit: Savannah Nelson, sunshinewithsavannah.com

Who is Doc Holliday?

Often considered Glenwood Springs’ most famous outlaw, Doc Holliday was a dentist-turned-gunslinger and gambler, best known for his role in the law-breaking events surrounding the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

Holliday had an infamous reputation as a sharp-shooter and has popped up in several movies and books throughout popular culture, played by various actors including Kirk Douglas, Adam West, Val Kilmer, and Dennis Quaid, among others. He is one of the most recognizable figures in tales of the American Old West, and is typically remembered via his relationship to fellow outlaw Wyatt Earp.

Unfortunately, Holliday contracted tuberculosis and made his way to Glenwood Springs in 1887, hoping that the geothermal hot springs waters would heal him. He died shortly after, however; on his deathbed, Holliday asked a nurse for a shot of whiskey. After being denied, his last words were, “This is funny.”

A grave and memorial site is dedicated to Holliday in Linwood Cemetary, overlooking the city of Glenwood Springs.

Doc Holliday’s Grave.  credit: Savannah Nelson, sunshinewithsavannah.com

The Hike

Also known as Pioneer Cemetary Trail, the trailhead that leads to Doc Holliday’s Grave is a quick uphill jaunt with sweeping views of Glenwood Springs. Best in the summer and fall seasons, this hike takes visitors up the mountainside on a wide dirt path.

The trail. credit: Savannah Nelson, sunshinewithsavannah.com

Along the way, there are benches and plenty of scenic spots to pause, catch your breath (it’s a steady incline throughout), and take photos of the surrounding beauty. There is a tree on the trail that’s covered in colorful ribbons, known as “Annie’s Wishing Tree.”

Annie’s Wishing Tree. credit: Savannah Nelson, sunshinewithsavannah.com

At the top, hikers are able to explore the cemetery and seek out historic graves, such as Kid Curry and Doc Holliday, of course. Check out the informational signs sprinkled throughout, which reveal local history and lore. Paying respect to the infamous gunslinger is a definite draw to the hike, and adds to the overall experience.

Hike Pros:

  • Quick; I have done it on my lunch break before
  • A good workout with a nice incline
  • Scenic views
  • Not super busy
  • Feel safe enough to do by myself
  • Lots of signage, benches, and historical information
  • Visitor friendly—would take any out of town guests

Hike Cons:

  • It can get a little busy during peak seasons
  • Have to rely on street parking at the trailhead
  • Feels a little weird taking photos at a cemetery

My Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars

Trail information
Length: 0.7 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderate
Usage: Moderate
Hiking notes: Beware of mud in the spring season and heed the signs warning not to throw anything off the side of the trail.

As always, enjoy the sunshine from up here.

Seeking sunshine on the trail. credit: Savannah Nelson, sunshinewithsavannah.com



About the Author, Savannah Nelson

Savannah Nelson is the creator of Sunshine with Savannah, a happiness-oriented blog with a focus on weekend travel, married millennial life musings, and all things lifestyle.

Savannah is a writer and PR professional based in western Colorado. In her spare time, Savannah enjoys sipping sour beers, daydream about dog ownership, explore the mountains with her husband, and seek out sunshine wherever she goes.

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Visit Glenwood Springs

We are pleased to announce the US Forest Service rebuild of the Hanging Lake Trail that is set to begin this spring will allow for hiking on a limited basis through the construction period. Reservations will be available weekly, with available hiking dates and times released every Tuesday at 8:00 am MDT. This system aims to streamline access to the trail during construction, while ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience for all visitors.

 Visit the Hanging Lake page HERE for more information and the booking portal.