Pine, Colorado

Pine, formerly known as Pine Grove, CO is a small community located along the Pine Valley Road (Hwy 126) as you travel in a southeasterly direction 5.5 miles from the intersection of Pine Junction. Pine Junction is located on US-285, approximately 6.5 miles from Conifer as you drive west.

Pine Grove was once a favored destination place for tourists from the Denver Metro area back in the day when the railroad provided transportation from Denver through the Pine Valley to Pine Grove.

The Buck Snort Saloon

The Buck Snort Saloon is located in Sphinx Park, Colorado driving northeasterly on CR-83 for about 1.5 miles or so from Pine. From Sphinx Park you can continue on CR-83 driving in a northwesterly direction which will eventually bring you back to US-285 near Shaffers Crossing.

The Saloon is unique in its decor having paper money from all over the country (world) nailed to its walls. These, combined with graffiti carvings in virtually all the woodwork provides a diversion while waiting for your food and/or beverages. It has been reported that they serve the best burgers around this neck of the woods! They even have a live band on occasion.

From the Buck Snort Saloon's Menu:

"In the late 1800's the Denver and South Park Railroad wound its way along the Platte River from Denver eventually through South Park to Breckenridge. Along its mountain route, the roailroad town of Pine was founded. Upstream on Elk Creek was established the summer community of Shinx Park. The rustic log cabins still remain, perched precariously on rock outcroppings and ledges. The center of activity wwas the Shinx Park Mercantile which now houses the Buck Snort Saloon. This real mountain bar, with its graffiti-covered rough-sawn walls, logs-on-end bar stools and cable-reel tables, is famous for its good good, drink, friendly saloon keepers and fun-loving customers."

The South Platte Hotel

The fourteen-room Platte River Hotel located at South Platte (formerly known as "Symes"), CO was built in 1887 by Charles and his wife Millie Wallbrecht. It served as both a stage and train stop. The Colorado and Southern Railroad built a train depot on the opposite side of the tracks from the hotel. Located next to the depot was another small building, The Log Cabin Inn, where fishermen could procure fish bait. What wasn't being largely advertised is that the bait being sold was actually whiskey!

The South Platte Hotel, also known as the Wallbrecht Hotel, served travelers going up the South Fork of the Platte River along with those who simply came to the canyon for a day or two to either fish or picnic.

Millie Wallbrecht, a rather large woman, also worked the South Platte Train Depot. Her large size and physical strength enabled her to easily handle the steamer trunks of the era.

The Ballew two-horse stage coach ran from South Platte to Nighthawk, Deckers, and West Creek, CO. In August of 1912 the then 29-year-old drunken stage driver, George Ballew, walked into the South Platte Hotel's bar-room looking for the owners George and Millie Wallbrecht, whom he believed was responsible for trying to convince Ballew's 16-year old wife to leave him. He opened fire with a .45 cal six-shooter only slightly wounding George Wallbrect while hitting his wife Millie with four shots. Two tourists were also hit during the shooting. After shooting up the place Ballew set fire to the hotel and burned it to the ground. He took off by horseback to the mountains only to be found several days later near LaJunta, CO in a wheat field where he committed suicide after being wounded several times by four Otero County law officers. The hotel was promptly replaced by the current structure still seen today. (Ref: "C&S Platte Canon Memories & Then Some" by Tom and Denise Klinger).

The old South Platte Hotel, once a bustling place to visit, now sits without a mission, property of the Denver Water Board. To see the hotel (as well as the great scenery along the way) follow CR-126 from Pine to Deckers, CO. From Deckers take CR-67 (the South Platte River Road) north to the intersection of CR67-CR97. Take the CR-97 road (now the North Platte River Road) north to CR-96 (the West Platte River Road) to Foxton, CO. Continue along CR-96 until you reach CR-126, the Pine Valley Road. You can then follow CR-126 back to Pine, Pine Junction, and US-285 which brings you back to Denver.