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History of Wagon Wheel Gap

Wagon Wheel Gap, village, Mineral co., SW Colo., on Rio Grande, in San Juan Mts., and 8 mi/12.9 km SE of Creede. Elev. c.8,390 ft/2,557 m. Fishing resort with mineral springs; kayaking. Surrounded by Rio Grande National Forest.

West of Del Norte, at South Fork, the highway branches, with the main thoroughfare continuing west over Wolf Creek Pass to Durango. The other road turns up the North Fork of the Rio Grande and follows the canyon past the rugged cliffs to Wagon Wheel Gap, where the rocks close in and form a gateway through which there is scarcely room for the river, the railroad, and the road to pass. The origin of its name is usually attributed to the finding of a wagon wheel beside the road, discarded by some freighter or prospector as he worked his way through the cut. On the other hand, the Gap is known to have been the scene of a big Indian battle after which, according to one lurid account, the Indians stretched a rope between the cliffs over the river, festooned it with the scalps of the whites they had killed and weighted it with a wagon wheel dangling from the middle.

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