Mountain Treasures in Colorado



Arapaho Princess Treasure – Long ago, the Spaniards buried eight burro-loads of 50 lb gold bars somewhere in the stone cliffs above the Purgatory River about 5 miles east of Las Animas. It is said that the gold bars were buried about 300 feet away from a strange arrangement of rocks, one in the shape of a doll, and stood about 30 feet high. The burial site was near an early 1800s village in the foothills. However, before any of the gold could be spent or moved, the Spanish were killed, and the treasure was never recovered.

Chacuaco Canyon Treasure – In 1858, a wagon train was traveling through the southeast part of Colorado, in what is now Las Animas County, carrying 1,500 pounds of gold Ingots. Suddenly, the wagon train was attacked by a group of outlaws and renegade Indians. At first, the wagon train prevailed, driving off the would-be thieves, and, to elude their tormentors, the travelers detoured through Chacuaco Canyon.

However, the outlaw gang pursued the wagon train with a vengeance. Three wagon train members quickly loaded the gold ingots onto six mules and led the animals to a rock outcropping along a nearby creek. While the three were hiding the gold, the outlaws caught up with the wagon train and were furious; they slaughtered each and every party member.

Wagon train in winter by Nick Eggenhofer

Wagon train in winter by Nick Eggenhofer

While the massacre occurred, the three men escaped to a nearby Mexican village. However, when they returned to retrieve the gold, they were killed by Ute Indians before ever reaching their destination.

To this day, the treasure has never been found.

Update! June 2009 – From one of our readers, Legends of America has learned that though the facts of our tale are partially incorrect, the legend of the treasure is true. Doing his own research for several years, our reader has determined the “real story” and has located the vast majority of the treasure, which included small gold bars with Spanish insignias.

Devil's Head Mountain, Colorado

Devil’s Head Mountain, Colorado

Devil’s Head Mountain -Devil’s Head Mountain, thirty miles north of Woodland Park, can be seen for 75 miles as it towers over the vast forest and scenic meadows. The area surrounding the landmark is filled with wild gulches, mysterious caves, and thick timber. In the late 1800s, the area was rife with outlaws due to its many opportunistic hideouts. There are numerous tales of buried treasure in the Devil’s Head vicinity, just waiting to be found. While there, you can enjoy the area’s multiple jeep roads, trails, and days of exploring. At the summit is the last operating fire lookout tower along Colorado’s Front Range. The tower was built in 1912 with materials packed up the mountain by mules. The tower offers a magnificent 360-degree view of the surrounding Pike National Forest. The easiest way to get there is to go west from Sedalia on Rt 67, then south on Rampart Range Road, then ten miles to the Devil’s Head access road.

Butch Cassidy, 1893

Butch Cassidy, 1893

Irish Canyon -In the late 1800’s Irish Canyon was a popular hideout of outlaws Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch, Matt Warner, Isom Dart, and many others as they spent time in the Browns Park vicinity in Moffat County. Supposedly, $30,000 in silver coins remains buried somewhere in the canyon.

While looking for the treasure, you can enjoy many excellent trails, hiking, and mountain opportunities. You can also visit the Irish Canyon Rock Art Site, where you can see the Fremont rock art from an elevated platform.

Moffat County is in the extreme northwest part of Colorado. Irish Canyon is northwest of Maybell. From Maybell, take US-40 to Colorado 318. Turn northwest onto 318 and continue to Moffat County Road 10N, which runs through the canyon.

Round Mountain -Long ago, a party of four French Canadians was said to have been trapping on the Snake River near Round Mountain. However, the Canadians were discovered by American trappers who took their furs and traps and ran them off. The four traveled south into western Colorado, and one of them found a gold nugget in the headwaters of the Gunnison River.

They spent the next month successfully panning the gravel in the creek beds. Ute Indians discovered the Frenchmen and attacked them. Three Frenchmen were killed in the running battle, which lasted several days. The fourth managed to escape over Cochetopa Pass (just west of Saguache). Sensing that his pursuers were closing in, he buried the gold on Round Mountain, hoping to return for it later. The Indians caught and killed the lone French-Canadian near the summit of Poncha Pass. The treasure has never been found, and the story endures hundreds of years later.

The Ten-Cent Treasure -Many years ago, a wagon train from the Denver mint, loaded with new dimes destined for Phoenix, Arizona, disappeared somewhere between a Crawford ranch and Montrose. Four to six wooden kegs of new dimes were loaded on four separate wagons traveling as a group. Several years later, treasure hunters found the remains of four wagons at the rim of a canyon where a side wash fell into the ravine. Though they were able to gather several gallons of dimes along the Gunnison River near the north rim of Black Canyon, more treasure awaits the finding.


© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated December 2022.

Colorado Treasure Tales

Colorado – The Centennial State

Legends, Ghosts, Myths, & Mysteries

Lost Treasure Tales