Hall of Fame: Chief Colorow

Cover of new book on Chief Colorow by Dr. Beth Simmons.

Cover of new book on Chief Colorow by Dr. Beth Simmons.

Chief Colorow was adopted and raised by the Muwache Utes, but was born a Comanche. As an adult, Colorow stood six feet tall and was adept at horse trading. He knew the Spanish and was acquainted with the mountain fur traders, trappers, and military men. Traveling throughout what is now Colorado for more than a quarter century, Chief Colorow knew every trail, tribe, and chief along the way and became a great statesman and respected leader of his people.

According to Rooney family legend, Alexander Rooney (1822-1895), the original settler, smoked the peace pipe with Chief Colorow under the Inspiration Tree. This ponderosa pine, dated at more than 500 years old, honors the longstanding peace between the Rooney family and the Utes.

The name “Colorow” appears on many signs and places throughout Jefferson County—Colorow Point Park, Colorow Road, and Colorow’s “Inspiration Tree” to name a few. On December 11, 1888, Chief Colorow died of pneumonia on the reservation.

The Jefferson County Historical Commission wishes to recognize the historical and factual contributions Chief Colorado made to Jefferson County, our state and nation. Chief Colorow was elected to the Jefferson County Hall of Fame in October 2015.


Until now, Colorow—the real man, chief, and statesman—has been known generally through stories and legends. In fall 2015, historian and researcher Dr. Beth Simmons has published the first detailed biography of Colorow, including previously unpublished photographs and genealogical information. This valuable publication is jointly sponsored by the Friends of Dinosaur Ridge and the Friends of the Jefferson County Historical Commission. Copies are available at the Dinosaur Ridge Visitor Center and the Discovery Center.

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