Rocky Mountain Land Library – Fairplay, Colorado - Atlas Obscura
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Fairplay, Colorado

Rocky Mountain Land Library

This 19th-century ranch is being transformed into a residential library with thousands of books about the natural world. 

South Park is a vast grassland surrounded by the craggy peaks of the Rocky Mountains. You can watch the clouds sweep by, admire the cattle grazing on the far slopes of the rolling hills, and wander a landscape striped by many creeks and streams. And in the near future, this magnificent sliver of countryside will be home to a residential library.

Inspired by a visit to a residential library in Wales, the Land Library’s founders have worked for years to turn their vision into reality on the grounds of the historic 20th-century Buffalo Peaks Ranch. The library’s collection is centered around nature, and includes about 30,000 books about animals, water, geology, sustainability, ecology, and more. The trove of information isn’t limited to the mountain west, either.

Though the library itself is still a work in progress, it’s possible to visit the historic ranch and get a taste of what is yet to come. The Land Library offers a whole summer program of classes involving many facets of the natural world.

At the ranch, you can experience anything from stargazing and camping events to art classes to discussions of books and concepts involving humankind’s interaction with the natural world. There’s also an active volunteer presence each year helping to refurbish the buildings which will one day include a central library space, meeting areas, residential rooms and buildings, and art studios.

Know Before You Go

Drive from Denver via highway 285, about 1.5 to two hours. It's a beautiful drive on a paved highway. There is food/lodging/bathroom/gas at nearby Fairplay.