Colowyo Mine

Useful Information

Location: Danforth Hills, Uinta Basin. Between Craig and Meeker, at the Highway 13.
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System
Guided tours:
Address: Colowyo Coal Company, Colowyo Coal Mine, 5731 State Highway 13, Meeker, CO 81641, Tel: +1-970-824-1500.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


early 19th century first coal mining in the area.
1914 mine opened by the Collom Coal Company.
1945 lease taken by the Colowyo Coal Company.
1994 acquired by Kennecott Energy Company.
1998 production increased to 5 Mio tons per year.


The Cretaceous Williams Fork Formation contains eight seams of low-sulfur coal which are close to the surface and can be mined open cast. The seams are between 50 cm and 3.65 m thick. Deeper seams may be mined later underground.

The coal was formed about 70Ma ag, when this part of Colorado changed several times between coast line and swamp environment. During the swamp times huge layers of plant remains were accumulated which were then covered sandstone, siltstone, and claystone during the coast line phase. The deposit forms a huge asymmetric anticlinale.


Colowyo Mine is a working open cast coal mine which produces coal for a nearby power plant. The coal is mined from eight seams at the same time, forming huge steps. First the overlying rocks are removed by blasting and transported to the mined out side of the open cast. The upper three seams are mined with front-end loaders and trucks. The lower seams are mined with large shovels and draglines. There is a first crushing plant on site, then the coal is transported by 50-ton highway-type trucks to a coal handling facility.

The mining company has won numerous awards for their reclamation. The overburden is used to restore the pre-existing landscape. Topsoil and dirt are replaced and seeded with native plants providing diverse vegetation for livestock and wildlife grazing. The reclamation land is monitored and maintained until plant growth regains its natural state. Finally the land has again become a habitat for sharp-tailed and sage grouse, and large herds of elk.

The site is sometimes listed as offering tours into the mine. We could not find any page on the web offering details how to book them. At the moment we guess they offer tours only to groups after appointment.