As most of you probably are not aware, I spent 8 years of my childhood living in Rye, Colorado. In the little slice of heaven that I called home, there were several things to see and do, among the most interesting of them is Bishop Castle.
If you ever find yourself on I25, do yourself a favor and take the Colorado City exit towards Rye. Once in Rye, drive through the San Isabel National Forest for 10 miles until you stumble upon 478 people standing in the middle of the highway on a curve with their cameras pointed towards the sky. Get the cuss words and negative hand gestures out of your system and turn your head to the left and look up. Here you will find the wonder that everyone is gawking at.
In 1959, Jim Bishop bought 2.5 acres of land with the hopes of building a family cabin. Ten years later, in 1969, Bishop began building what is now known as Bishop’s Castle by hand and has not stopped to this day. He has no employees and no help. It is just one man with the dream of having his own castle. Every time I have ever been to this castle, I have seen Jim working away. Last time I was there, he was in the process of digging a moat around the castle and has plans to complete the moat with drawbridge, construct a roller coaster (Yes, a damn roller coaster) on the outer wall of the castle, and construct a second castle for his wife.
Nearly every part of the castle is assessable, if you are willing to take the risk. I have lost my guts over the years and did not get very high last time we went. What I lack in guts, I have gained in brains. I often think, “how the hell have people not died climbing this thing?” Brady muttered the same thing as he stepped out onto the ironwork and it began to move. Shortly after followed a, “F*ck this castle. I’m getting down.” Agreed.
Looking back through pictures over the years, it is amazing how far he has come. If I ever get the chance to scan the pictures, I will add them to my post.
NOTE: Jim is a very tough-talking man who expresses very strong extreme beliefs and rants excessively about politics and race.
I have witnessed several of his rants, no cuss word left unsaid. Over the years, he has been in qualms with Washington bureaucrats who thought he should be charged by the truckload for the rocks he was using since they were considered property of San Isabel National Forest. Bishop felt the rocks were there for his taking. Another bone he picked was with the Colorado state Chamber of Commerce because they refused to list Bishop’s Castle as an attraction in it’s official tourism guide.
Signs like this expressing his beliefs can be found all over the property.
I hope to be able to go back up for a visit with Brady here in the next year or so to see what else has been added. I may even get brave and climb up to the rotating spire atop the castle! Ha!
In all seriousness, this is a sight you should definitely see should you find yourself in southern Colorado. Admission is free and donations are welcome (and preferred). Unless there is a blizzard, the castle is open during daylight hours…and even then, I would count on it being open during a blizzard! There is also a gift shop on site. Yep, even bathrooms if you don’t mind using an outhouse. I would opt for a pine tree about 100 yards up the mountain, but that’s just me.
Jim currently is fighting a battle with cancer and has taken a break from working on the castle. It is still open to the public and is now hosting weddings!
Side Note: My post showed 666 words – not saying that I’m superstitious but I’m writing this to add a few more words.