Craig in northwest Colorado
Craig sits at the heart of cattle country in northwest Colorado. | Photo by Jolene E /

Staff writer

Craig is a small city in northwestern Colorado that serves as a center for hunting, cattle ranching, coal mining and electrical power generation.

Craig was founded in 1889 as a supply town for nearby ranches, thanks to its strategic location at the confluence of Fortification Creek and the Yampa River, then known as the Bear River. Coal mining came to the region in the 1970s, and three coal-fired power plants completed between 1974 and 1984 generate 1,311 megawatts of power a year that is split among five utility companies.

The Ute, Comanche and Shoshone tribes inhabited the Craig area before white explorers arrived. The explorers included mountain man Jim Bridger and the Ashley Expedition in 1825 and French-Canadian fur trapper Batiste Brown and his Native American wife, who settled in what is now Brown’s Park from 1827 until 1845.

White settlers began to arrive in the Craig area in the 1870s, and outlaws, including Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch, were drawn to the nearby Browns Park as a hideout because of its rugged, remote location along the Green River.

Craig was founded by William H. Tucker and named for one of the town’s financial backers, Rev. William Bayard Craig, a pioneer religious leader from Denver who later became chancellor of Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Craig was incorporated in 1908 and became the Moffat County seat when the county was created by the Legislature in 1911.

Browns Park
Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge
Dinosaur National Monument
John Jarvie Ranch
Marcia Car from Moffat Railroad
Museum of Northwest Colorado
Wild horses in Sand Wash
Wyman Living History Museum

Craig facts
Population: 9,464 (2010 Census).
Land area: 4.9 square miles.
County: Moffat (Craig is the county seat).
Altitude: 6,198 feet above sea level.
Climate: Cool summers, cold winters, and low humidity with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 13 inches, including average snowfall of 70 inches. Snow depth of 7 inches in January and February. January averages: high 32, low 3. July averages: high 85, low 48. More weather