287 votes

Bishop Castle

12705 Colorado 165, Rye, Colorado 81069 USA

Free to Visit
Closed Now
Opens Sat 7a
  • Independent
  • Not Wheelchair
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“an unforgettable experience”

The coolest attraction in Colorado isn't in any guide books, but often times the best things aren't. Jim Bishop's Castle is an impressive, handmade stone fortress, all built by one person: the man, the myth, the legend...Jim Bishop. Bishop bought the land in 1959 at the tender age of 15-- he earned the money himself from paper routes and mowing lawns, and his parents had to sign the papers since he was underage. His original plan was to help his father build a family cabin on the property, but when he and his dad started building a cistern for water that looked a little like a castle turret, Jim realized that the cabin could be something a whole lot more epic.  As Bishop began building, his vision for the castle grew and evolved. He didn't originally plan on doing it himself, either...it just happened that way. He dug the foundation, found and moved the rocks, mixed the mortar, and constructed everything on his own-- even the impressive ironwork is his doing. Of course, no good castle is complete without a fire-breathing dragon, and Bishop's castle is no exception-- he wrought a dragon-shaped chimney of stainless steel, and rigged it with a hot air balloon burner to make it breathe fire. There are three-story towers, bridges, a Grand Ballroom, and stairs connecting it all. The whole thing has a very handmade feel to it, so exploring feels almost  a little dangerous, although there isn't much to see inside-- the rooms are empty, but be sure and check out the handmade stained glass windows that look out onto the surrounding forest. And if you're feeling brave, head up the towers-- the top offers impressive views of miles and miles of gorgeous Colorado landscape. If you're thinking that it would take a crazy person to build this entire thing by himself-- you're probably right. Bishop is notorious for his strong and... shall we say "eccentric" views on the government and other controversial topics. If you happen to visit while he's working on the castle, he's not shy about telling you either. That's one of the reasons guide books are kind of hesitant to promote the castle. The other reason? Before you enter the castle, you have to sign the guestbook; it releases Bishop from liability in case of injury while exploring, as he has no insurance. Feel free to leave a small donation if you feel so inclined. -Roadtrippers Today's visitors to the Bishop Castle will find an impressively monumental statue in stone and iron that cries loud testament to the beauty and glory of not only Having a Dream, but Sticking with your Dream no matter what, and most importantly, that if you do believe in yourself and strive to maintain that belief, anything can happen! Three full stories of interior rooms complete with a Grand Ballroom, soaring towers and bridges with vistas of a hundred miles, and a Fire-Breathing Dragon make the Bishop Castle quite the unforgettable experience! Visitors are always welcome FREE of charge, and the castle itself is always OPEN. Please respect this trust and honor while visiting!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 23 Helpful
September 23, 2016
Rated 1.0

My cousin is an officer in the United States Army and this man had the nerve to call her and my family members the "N" word today (Sept.22.2016)! He needs to kiss the sole of the boots she wears in service to this country and protecting the likes of people like him.

23 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 4 Reviews
  • 17 Helpful
June 15, 2015

OK, I won't lie. My family was a bit freaked out visiting this location. It truly is awe-inspiring. However, with all the politically-charged messages posted throughout the location, and with the warnings about your valuables being stolen - along with the fact that we were the only ones there (even though there was another parked car) - well, it was disconcerting. However, it was beautiful and amazing. I would encourage anyone to go, but be prepared for what it is - a brilliant project by a disturbed individual.

13 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Bailey Tann

  • 11 Reviews
  • 14 Helpful
May 26, 2015
Rated 4.0

Worth the trip! Super neat place to explore. But be prepared to here the man's loud and obnoxious political and conspiracy opinions. Still worth it to just ignore him!

6 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Stephen Rees

  • Road Warrior
  • 273 Reviews
  • 319 Helpful
September 25, 2014
Rated 5.0

Bishop's Castle is by far both the coolest and the most terrifying place I've ever been. It's incredible to think that the entire structure was built by one man--it's beauty and intricacy is amazing to behold. But the climb up to the top of the highest spire along those crazy metal spiral staircases scared the living daylights out of me, even though the view of the sunset through the San Luis forest was awesome. This is a place you definitely have to see to believe, although think twice before bringing kids. Not only can it be a very dangerous place to scramble around in, but Bishop's views on race and the government are both extreme and loudly voiced. Also note that, although entry is free, Bishop suggests that visitors provide a $5 to $10 donation and also sign his guest book to waive any liability claims.

6 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
March 23, 2014

It was beautiful! Make sure you take the time to go to every level! I was there first thing in the morning, and I won't lie - it was a little creepy being the only ones out there until we realized we really were the only ones.

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 3 Helpful
August 09, 2014

A must see! We'll worth the trip! The architecture is amazing! What a skilled craftsman! You and your kids will love this place! Even if you are afraid of heights!
What a place to explore! Go check it out!

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 9 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
March 30, 2021
Rated 5.0

Truly unique!! A little scary- we climbed to the top and it was terrifying and shaking in the 30 mph winds but super fun to explore. Not too many Saftey features so be careful!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 14 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
October 21, 2018
Rated 5.0

Okay major update! Visited in October 2018 and there has been major fire damage to a gift shop in the castle.

They are relying on donations to fix up the castle. I would not recommend this to kids as there are no many safety hazards. I had quite the scare going up. There is a big safety sign at the entrance. But I too my chance and truly a great experience to explore that castle.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
February 03, 2016

Been here twice, love it!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
September 16, 2013

Awesome!! Great sight to visit. Be careful, remember its all been hand built over the years and the owner is still building. It really is increadable.

1 person found this review helpful

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Bishop Castle

12705 Colorado 165
Rye, Colorado
81069 USA


Closed Now
  • Sun - Sat: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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