Camp Hale Colorado
Home of the 10th Mountain Division 1941-1944
Pictures from the last WW2 Veteran's Reunion, August 2007
Camp Hale was established in 1942 in west-central Colorado to provide
winter and mountain warfare training during World War II (WWII). The site was
acquired by purchase from private owners and by use permits from the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. The
(or living area) area for Camp Hale was constructed in Eagle Park, east of
Highway 24 between Leadville and Red Cliff, Colorado. The camp was established
here because of the natural setting of a large, flat valley bottom, surrounded
by steep hillsides suitable for training in skiing, rock climbing, and cold
weather survival skills. The size of Camp Hale varied between 5,000 and 247,243
acres during the time that it was an active military installation.
Military use of Camp Hale included the 10th Mountain Division, the 38th
Regimental Combat Team, 99th Infantry Battalion, and soldiers from Fort Carson
conducting mountain and winter warfare training exercises from 1942 to 1965.
Throughout this time, the Army tested a variety of weapons and equipment at Camp
Hale. From 1959 through 1965, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) secretly
trained Tibetan soldiers at Camp Hale. In July 1965, Camp Hale was deactivated
and control of the lands returned to the Forest Service in 1966.
East Fork Valley
While munitions training exercises were conducted throughout the Camp Hale area, one area of known heavy use was the East Fork valley. The East Fork valley is near the cantonment area of Camp Hale off U.S. Highway 24 and is located along the East Fork of the Eagle River. According to historical records, the valley was a major combat training area throughout the life of Camp Hale. The following munitions have been confirmed to have been used in the valley: anti-tank rockets, recoilless rifles, rifle grenades, hand grenades, high explosive and illumination mortars, artillery, practice antitank land mines, and small arms. Other munitions may also have been used in the valley. Records show that the CIA also used the valley for military training.
The Camp Hale cantonment area (where the troops lived and worked) and portions of East Fork Valley of the Eagle River (collectively known as Eagle Park) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are now managed with an emphasis on protecting and interpreting the history of the area. Please help the U.S.D.A. Forest Service preserve the historic site and prevent erosion by not driving vehicles off established roadways. Leave historical artifacts where you find them for others to enjoy and learn from.