Collins Canyon is often used as an access canyon to Grand Gulch, and by many considered the easiest. The elevation profile, and grade of Collins is friendly to even a novice hiker. But today we are not concerned with the Grand Gulch, but rather the remains of an old cowboy camp in Collins Canyon.
From the Collins Canyon trailhead it is less than a mile to the old cowboy camp. The camp was set up among an outcropping of enormous boulders, and an alcove in the canyon wall. It is quite picturesque with old cans, bottles, cooking utensils, and an array of tools strung about. Remnants of an old fence, or hitching post lie collapsed on the ground. There is also a dug out, which was probably used for cold storage. It is in perfect condition, with the logs still enclosing it. Inside is a collection of old boxes of Rosebud Matches, and Sego Milk.
The camp has a couple of telling artifacts that can help to date its use. Sego Milk, began production in 1916, and went out of business in 1961, and a can of Columbine Milk that I found during my visit, I was able to date to the 1940s. While that doesn’t narrow it down too much, that does tell us that the camp was used in the 1940s, and possibly prior. Based on the extensive amount of artifacts, it is relatively safe to assume that the camp was probably used on and off for an extended period.
Spend a little time here, and summon the spirit of John Wayne. You just may find him sitting around a fire, enjoying a smoke, eating beans, and swapping lies with his compadres.