Step into a Fairytale Touring Colorado’s Enchanting 160-Foot Stone Castle
What started out as a small stone cottage in the heart of Colorado has turned into a breathtaking 160-foot stone castle you can visit anytime. Take a look at Colorado's amazing Bishop Castle.
The King of the castle, Jim Bishop, started this "project" in 1969. At that time he was in his late 20s. Now, in 2023, he's 79 years old, and this quaint stone cottage has developed into a mammoth structure and awe-inspiring tourist attraction.
A Stone Cottage Near Pueblo, Colorado
Back in 1969, Jim Bishop, an ornamental steel worker in his late 20s, along with his father, set out to build a stone cottage. Have you ever found yourself starting a project only to find it has gotten a little out of control? Well, in Jim's case, this stone cottage "project" continued for more than half a century, ultimately resulting in a 160-foot rock castle complete with a dragon, ballroom, stained glass windows, and every other amenity you might associate with a castle.
Where Did The Rock Come From?
Things used to be a little different back in the 1970s. Back then, Jim Bishop used to gather stones from National Forest. According to The Epoch Times, Jim's project ultimately saw him hauling three to four tons of rock per load. Eventually, the National Forest Service intervened and began charging him a fee for a rock-hauling permit. When it was all said and done, the price of 15 cents per ton was settled upon.
When To Visit Bishop Castle
You can visit anytime you want, for as long as you want, assuming you don't move in. According to Bishop Castle's official webpage, "Bishop Castle is always open and always free!"
There are no guided tours. You can simply show up and roam the castle. If you want to catch construction in action, you are advised to visit on the weekend.
How To Find Bishop Castle
It's fairly easy to get to. Make your way to Colorado I-25. Take exit #74 at Colorado City and head towards the mountains. You'll be on Colorado state highway 165. Stay on it for 24 miles. It will take you right to the castle.
If you're coming in from Salida, head east on Highway 50 to Texas Creek. Turn right onto Highway 69 into Westcliffe. Once in Westcliffe, turn right onto Highway 96 and continue until you see the Bishop Castle signs at the junction with Highway 165. Turn right and proceed 12 miles.
How To Contribute To The Castle
Visiting the castle is free. Because it's free to visit, some assume some really rich person is funding the endeavor. This is not the case. This project is funded entirely by donations from visitors. According to bishopcastle.org, " A percentage of all donations to Bishop Castle goes to the Charity for New-Born Heart Surgery that Jim and Phoebe Bishop founded around the castle to help local families without medical insurance."
What About the Original 'Rock Cottage'?
That was eventually completed. It was later converted into a gift shop. It has since burned down.