See it, experience it, and most of all, respect it.
For those of us living and working in the mountains, we have always recognized how lucky we are to have the Holy Cross Wilderness, Vail Pass Recreation Area, and the 10th Mountain Division Hut System in our backyard. And on October 12, 2022, President Joe Biden designated the area known as Camp Hale a National Monument. The official name: Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument.
This designation all but ensures that 54,000 acres of pristine wilderness within the Holy Cross Wilderness and Vail Pass Recreation Area will forever be protected. And the history of this special place will be preserved for generations to come.
What is Camp Hale
In 1943, during World War II, Camp Hale was home to over 14,000 men and women. Located just off highway 24 between Vail and Leadville, Colorado, the soldiers of Camp Hale were part of the highly specialized mountaineering unit known as the 10th Mountain Division. These soldiers were trained for high altitude, winter combat. Their training included skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, and other skills required to prevail in the rugged landscapes of the Italian and European Alps. As part of their training, the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division built and maintained the huts that now make up the 10th Mountain Division Hut System. At its peak, Camp Hale consisted of over 1,000 buildings including barracks, a military hospital, shooting outposts, and more.
Who were the individuals that served
From Vail to Ski Cooper, and from Leadville to Aspen, you will find plaques, statues, and memorials honoring those who served and sacrificed in the 10th Mountain Division. Of the 14,000 individuals who served in the 10th, thousands made the ultimate sacrifice during the war. For those who eventually made their way home, many went on to build what became the multi-billion dollar ski industry.
Over 60 ski areas across the US were started by members of the 10th. Along with ski areas, members also founded outdoor education programs, leadership programs, the National Ski Patrol, and even became Olympians. One of the members, Bill Bowerman, co-founded Nike with his friend Phil Knight. And when Sir Edmund Hillary made it the summit of Mt. Everest, he used lightweight gear made by the company “Gerry” which was founded by Gerry Cunningham of the 10th Mountain Division. Gerry Cunningham is credited with having invented the down-filled jacket that is a staple here in the mountains of Colorado.
How to experience Camp Hale
The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument can be enjoyed year-round with easy access by foot, Jeeps, RZRs, Snowmobiles, and by Timbersleds. We at RMAR are lucky enough to have direct access from our Red Cliff location. Whether you are visiting in the summer or winter, you can reserve your machines out of Red Cliff and be at Camp Hale within 15 minutes. While en route, you will pass through the 54,000 acres of pristine wilderness that make up the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument. Unlike roadside travelers, you will be able to see and explore the entire region, without large groups of people around you. You will be able to go at your own pace.
Choose the Experience that is right for you:
For families and new snowmobilers
For motorcycle enthusiasts
For experienced snowmobilers