Red Cliff is the oldest town in Eagle County. After silver was discovered on Battle Mountain in 1879, the town sprang up where the Eagle River is joined by Turkey Creek. Above the red cliffs of the Eagle Valley soars the Mount of the Holy Cross. This cross, formed by snow lying in rock crevices, attracted Christian pilgrims after William Henry Jackson's famous photograph and Thomas Moran's celebrated paintings carried the inspirational scene to the four corners of the globe.
No one was more fascinated with the Mount of the Holy Cross than Joseph P. Carrigan, pastor of St. Stephen's in Glenwood Springs. He formed the Mount of the Holy Cross Trails Association and recruited interdenominational religious, civic, and political support to make it a shrine. Shrine Pass is a relic of this grand, unfulfilled scheme. Mount Carmel Church is another offshoot, having been established in 1900 with the hope of starting a monastery of the Carmelite fathers in Redcliff to welcome pilgrims.
Although the monastery never materialized, the little chapel--a frame structure with a bell tower and metal roof, has survived. St. Thomas Seminary donated the kneelers, and St. Mary's in Eagle gave the pews for what is, officially, Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church. Since the beginning, it has been a mission of St. Patrick's parish in Minturn.