High Park Road and Colorado Highway 9 were originally trails that connected the ranches and farms of the mountain parklands west of Cripple Creek to Cañon City. The Currant Creek Trail followed the route of present day Colorado Highway 9. Well-traveled by American Indians moving between the Arkansas River and South Park, this trail became an important route for the mountain men, explorers and eventually, people and freight headed for the mining camps of Leadville and South Park.
To settlers, the grassy meadows of High Park seemed ideal for raising cattle and horses; however, ranching and farming proved challenging occupations here. Settlers endured summer drought, harsh winters, unpredictable markets, rustlers and isolation. With the gold boom in Cripple Creek, ranchers and farmers enjoyed a convenient market for their products. In 1897, the Fremont County Cattlegrowers Protective Association formed allowing ranchers to work together on common problems and to share information on important issues. Today a few of the original ranches remain, a testimony to the tenacity of early settlers.