Located along the South Platte river canyon, the town of Bailey offers plenty of local history mixed with ample outdoor recreation. One spot not to miss while visiting the Bailey area is Wellington Lake. Offering outdoor fun for the whole family. Take a leisurely drive through the canyon to get there just for the beautiful scenery or plan on taking a hike when you get there. The area allows for camping, swimming, catch and release fishing, mountain biking, picnicking and non motorized boating (kayaks, sail boats, canoes, paddle boats).
A bit of history lingers in Bailey…
Bailey figured prominently in the early rush of prospective miners and their families toward the gold fields of the South Park and beyond. William Bailey established a ranch in 1864 and found that travelers were in search of a place to stop for the night before proceeding through the winding Platte Canyon to the high country. Bailey took over a tavern Henry Crow built in 1861, added lodging to his ranch and the area became known as “Bailey’s” - later shortened to just Bailey. After running a profitable business for many years, Mr. Bailey sold his land and moved to California.
Several thousand Railroad bridges were built in America between 1840 and 1880. Among the survivors is Keystone Bridge at McGraw Park. Located down river, this bridge served the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railway until it went out of business in 1938. Visitors to McGraw Park can enjoy crossing the old iron bridge and hiking the trail that winds through the forest above the North Fork of the South Platte River. The area is a favorite of mountain bikers for the challenging trails of Platte Canyon. Bailey’s McGraw Historical Park features a number of early buildings from the area including the 1864 Entriken Cabin belonging to William Bailey’s sister-in-law who came west with them and her brother, the famous Father John Dyer. Entriken Cabin with hand-hewn, squared logs, is listed on the Colorado Register of Historic Properties, it is the only surviving building from the original town of Bailey.
In 1878 Ed and Blanche McGraw bought land from William Bailey and built a general store. A successful businesswoman, Blanche continued running the store until her death in 1918. After serving many functions over the years, including a theater and hotel, it has operated as the Bailey Country Store since 1985. Built in 1901, Glen Isle Resort is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been owned by the same family for more than 80 years.