(Colorado) On a hill above the tree line, overlooking a land of hidden treasures, sits a troll hard at work. "Rita the Rock Planter," a creative masterpiece by Thomas Dambo, is filling a mine to prevent people from accidentally falling into the hole.
Dambo, an artist and storyteller based in Denmark, creates massive trolls from locally sourced natural and recyclable materials. Each troll serves as a unique tribute to the place they inhabit, honoring the history and culture of the location.
His spectacular structures are found around the world, including two in Colorado.
The newest addition to the Centennial State's troll family is "Rita the Rock Planter," a masterpiece built near a 150-year-old gold mine. It pays homage to the rich mining history that shaped the lands on the west side of Pikes Peak.
Rita is located between Cripple Creek and Victor off of CO-67 near Little Grouse Mountain Trail.
From Cripple Creek, follow CO-67 south towards Victor for approximately 3.8 miles. Shortly after crossing a large bridge, there will be a turn-off on the right for Little Grouse Mountain Trail and Rita. It is well marked.
There are two parking areas, an upper and lower one. The upper parking lot is the closest to the troll and may fill up quickly, especially on the weekend.
From the upper parking lot, it is a short walk to Rita on a hard-packed dirt surface. The trail has slight elevation changes with a few rocks, but it is suitable for mobility scooters and strollers.
There are a few pieces of historic mining equipment and an old Blacksmith Shop just off the parking lot before Rita's trailhead. The troll trail entrance has a poem written by Thomas Dambo and a few reminders to respect the area and art so it can be enjoyed by all.
For those seeking more activity and adventure, park in the lower lot. It is a steep, rocky climb to Rita from this lot, but the scenery and views are worth the effort.
The 1.9-mile trail is a loop, and visitors can find Rita from either direction by following the painted birdhouses and trail signs.
Dambo's awe-inspiring creation is a beautiful blend of art, history, and nature - a welcome addition to the troll family.
Whether you seek a short adventure or a more challenging trek, the enchanting Rita is a must-visit site in Colorado.