The highway continues past North Lake and continues climbing almost steadily to
Cuchara Pass (elevation: 9,995 feet). There are very few buildings along
this stretch of road but the views are gorgeous. Lots of wildlife, lots of wildflowers.
Except for the North Lake and Monument Lake areas, nearly all of the land along
the highway is private.
The highway doesn’t touch National Forest until the summit of Cuchara Pass. At the
summit of the pass is where the other branch of the Scenic Highway of Legends: from Aguilar over Cordova Pass to Cuchara Pass, comes out.
The route the Byway takes over Cuchara Pass was a Native American trail used as
early as 1779. In 1865, Henry Daigre hired Hiram Vasquez to construct a wagon road
from La Veta to Stonewall over the pass. In 1883 this road became a mail route connecting
the several little post offices upstream of Trinidad along the Purgatoire River
in Las Animas County to the Cuchara Valley, La Veta and points beyond.