Attractions Directory

Farley Wildflower Overlook

Don’t miss the spectacular view of the meadow from the overlook.

Farley Wildflower Overlook is a pull-off on Cordova Pass Road just east of the summit of Cucharas Pass.

The view of the meadow from the overlook is spectacular as it’s a riot of color throughout wildflower season.
To get to Farley Wildflower Overlook, drive to the summit of Cucharas Pass on State Highway 12. Turn east on the well-marked dirt road leading to Aguilar. The Farley Wildflower Overlook is 1/2 mile down this road.
The only “taking” of wildflowers should be the taking of photos! If you (and all the visitors behind you) practice Leave no Trace and Care for Colorado guidance this breathtaking overlook will remain open and magnificent for years to come. Thanks in advance for being a responsible human and helping protect this vista. Read more about what YOU can do here.

Bishop’s Castle

Visit neighboring Custer County to see “America’s biggest, one-man, physical project.
Bishop’s Castle is located in neighboring Custer County along the Frontier Pathways Scenic Byway and is an excellent addition to any trip to Custer County or nearby Mission: Wolf.
Bishop’s Castle is an elaborate and intricate one-person project named after its constructor, Jim Bishop. Tucked in the forest, visitors will discover a frontier fortress made of stone collected from the surrounding San Isabel National Forest. The castle reaches over 16 stories high, has three large cathedral windows, wrought iron walkways, and a steel fire-breathing dragon.
At the age of 15, Bishop dropped out of high school and bought a two-and-a-half-acre plot of land in rural Colorado, where he planned to hunt and live.
Every year since 1969, Bishop has single-handedly gathered and set over 1,000 tons of rock to create his stone and iron fortress in the middle of nowhere. Bishop calls it “a monument to hardworking people” and “America’s biggest, one-man, physical project.
Bishop’s Castle is always open and always free to the public. The castle dragon is fired up on weekends from Memorial Day through Labor Day.


In the Mystic San Luis Valley, a million-dollar shot is not just a pretty landscape. Sure, we have some of the most incredible scenery in the world, but to us, a million-dollar shot brings every unique moment to life.

When you visit Colorado, it’s tempting to snap everything you see, but we’re asking you to take a minute and ask why — why is it important to take so many photos of the same thing? Because in the rush to take photos, we may be missing the beauty of each moment.

Filter Free Zones

Filter Free Zones are places that are magnificent just the way they are. So much so that adding a filter would only ruin the authentic beauty of the shot. Challenge your skills, manipulate the lighting, be guided by the weather, and let the pure essence of your subjects come forward.

Shutter Speed Limit

It can be tempting to snap multiple photos from slightly different angles. But in the Shutter Speed Limit Zone, we’re asking you to put the camera down for a few minutes and examine the world through your eyes, not a viewfinder. By focusing on quality, not quantity, we believe your photography will be richer and more poignant.

Photo Preserve

Photo Preserves are spaces where we work together to ensure our photography practices leave no trace. When visiting a preserve, take some time for reflection: how can photography enrich the places we visit? How can you change your travel habits to leave less of an impact?

See Your Photos in a New Light

At what point are you satisfied with your photo? When the light is perfect? When no one is blinking in the group shot? Or, is it the moment you think to yourself “this is the one I will upload later?”

When you visit Colorado, it’s tempting to snap everything you see, but we’re asking you to take a minute and ask why — why is it important to take so many photos of the same thing? Because in the rush to take photos, we may be missing the beauty of each moment.

More Ways to Take a Million Dollar Shot

There’s more to the Mystic San Luis Valley than what’s in the frame. To grow as a photographer, live the conscientious photography principles with us by stepping back from the viewfinder and refocusing on the moment.

Find out how you can take the challenge to make your photos more authentic, considered, and meaningful.

Cuchara Mountain Park

Enjoy year-round opportunities for recreation, education, entertainment, special events, and socializing.
In today’s ski industry, mega resorts are buying up the little guys so quickly, it’s easy to forget that not long ago, most ski areas were small, individual businesses dedicated to the skier. But over the years, these mom-and-pop hills were bought by non-skiers who often ran the mountains out of business. At the same time, the forest service was less likely to grant access to land and snowfall became less dependable.
The result was many abandoned ski resorts across Colorado, one of which was Cuchara Mountain Resort in Spanish Peaks Country.
In 2002, the Forest Service terminated the ski area’s SUP, based on the limited snowfall and the ski area’s inability to draw enough visitors to be financially viable. The NFS land remained open to public use but the lower area, the base of the ski area, became private property closed to the public
In 2017, the Cuchara Foundation raised and donated $150,000 for Huerfano County to purchase 47 privately held acres at the base for use by all Huerfano residents as a county-owned park, now called, Cuchara Mountain Park, an environmentally sensitive facility that offers year-round opportunities for recreation, education, entertainment, special events and socializing.
Today, the nonprofit Panadero Ski Corp runs the park, hosting many events throughout the year.

Top Reasons to Visit La Veta and Cuchara

Here are its top reasons to visit La Veta and Cuchara.

The La Veta – Cuchara Chamber invites you to visit its special piece of Spanish Peaks Country. Here are its top reasons to visit La Veta and Cuchara.
  • La Veta and Cuchara have some of the most unique geological features in the country.
  • The 82-mile Highway of Legends was selected by The Lonely Planet as one of Colorado's best Scenic Byways
  • La Veta and Cuchara are alive with entertainment, theater, music in small venues, and music festivals in multiple venues.
  • La Veta and Cuchara are safe and friendly destinations for the whole family.
  • La Veta and Cuchara are home to Colorado's first State Park and the only one with a golf course
  • There's rustic and fine cuisine made from locally grown, sustainable produce and meat.
  • There are only two traffic lights in the whole county.
  • La Veta and Cuchara offer easy access to National Forests and pristine wilderness with areas for hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and viewing wildlife.
  • These towns are located halfway between Denver and Santa Fe.
  • La Veta and Cuchara are creative vacation destinations to shop for that one-of-a-kind gift of jewelry, art, pottery, fiber art, and batik. Or, take a class from one of their world-class artists and attend an art festival.
  • Visit La Veta and tour a historic district with unique buildings made by stonemasons who used locally quarried yellow sandstone and the Francisco Fort Museum.
  • Enjoy 300 days of sunshine and refreshing mountain air for a healthy, relaxing stay.
  • Peruse the second best library in the country.

Twelve Must-Dos in Spanish Peaks Country

There’s so much to do in Spanish Peaks Country, where does one start?
There’s so much to do in Spanish Peaks Country, where does one start? Good thing we compiled a list of some of our favorite activities. Take our challenge and try to do all 10!
Do one of these or do all twelve, but if you Leave no Trace and Care for Colorado they’ll all still be here when you or your great-great grandchildren come to visit in 50+ years. Read more.

Walsenburg and La Veta Parks

Spanish Peaks Country’s public parks serve a vital role for locals and visitors alike. From baseball fields and playgrounds to skate parks and basketball courts, there’s something for everyone. Whether you live in town or are visiting for a day or two, be sure to check out one of our parks to play, relax, or gather with friends.

Where to See Fall Colors in Spanish Peaks Country

Visit Spanish Peaks during the most beautiful time of the year.
If you’ve traveled to other parts of Colorado and come to Spanish Peaks Country for the first time, you might find yourself surprised and delighted by how diverse, rich, and stunning the landscape is. From Spanish Peaks Country’s unique geological features to its fertile fields and green mountains, the region is one of Colorado’s most beautiful.
Like much of Colorado, one of the most wonderful times of the year to visit is in the fall when the aspens change from green to shades of gold and red.
Want to check out the fall colors in Spanish Peaks Country? We recommend heading to these locations.

Uptop Historic District

Discover the Uptop Historic on the top of La Veta Pass. Once home to The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, historic Uptop businesses have gone through many iterations, including a sawmill, a tavern, and a small ski resort. Its historic buildings are open to exploring and nearby trails make this a hiker’s delight.

Bear Lake Campground

Bear Lake Campground is located in the beautiful San Isabel National Forest at an elevation of 10,480 ft. Views of the nearby Culebra Mountain Range with aspen and spruce forests offer campers a genuine Colorado experience.

Blue Lakes Campground

Blue Lake Campground, located at 10,440 feet in elevation, has a beautiful little lake ideal for fishing.

Cordova Pass

Cordova Pass sits on the western shoulder of the West Spanish Peak, rises to an elevation of 11,2560 feet, and lies just outside the Spanish Peaks Wilderness.

Cuchara Mountain Park

A formally abandoned ski resort is now Cuchara Mountain Park, , an environmentally sensitive facility that offers year-round opportunities for recreation, education, entertainment, special events and socializing.

Why I Love Spanish Peaks Country, by Fido

Visit Spanish Peaks during the most beautiful time of the year.
Like all of my canine relatives around the world, this last year has been special because our humans have been home and doting on us all day, every day! I hear my people talking about inoculations and Dad pulled the map of Colorado out and, oh how my tail just about wagged right off. He asked me “who’s a good boy?” and “where should we go?”
I wagged and wiggled and barked at him: “It’s good to be a dog visiting Spanish Peaks Country!!” I think he understood.
One of my favorite places is Lathrop State Park, because it has it all. Martin Lake is warm for swimming and I get to ride in the powerboat. Horseshoe Lake is peaceful and I love riding on Mom’s paddleboard! The nature trail is an awesome walk, and my itty bitty people love the playground. Dad disappears to the golf course, but none of us care because we’re having our own fun. The girl child just read the Hunger Games and can’t wait to try the archery range. And, not to get too graphic, but my people love it here because when I leave them “presents” there are places to dispose of my (ahem) waste (read why this is important). Sometimes we just come for a quick trip and car-camp in our tents, but it looks like this time we’re making reservations for a family reunion and will bring our RV this summer. I hope Aunt Cathy’s poodle gets to come.
I know we’ll go hiking, and I don’t care where, there are so many options! What’s really nice about Spanish Peaks Country trails is they aren’t crowded and it’s natural to “social distance.” Did you know that if I lick you or you pet me and you’re not living with me and my pack that I could give you COVID-19? I wouldn’t want to, but us doggos can spread disease. My people always keep me on a leash, which I don’t mind because not all dogs are as nice as me when we cross on the trial. At the risk of being rude, my leash also helps because I don’t want to contaminate this pristine landscape with my poo, and my people are more likely to notice my droppings this way.
I am looking forward to camping this summer, but it’s ok with me when we splurge and find a warm bed to sleep on inside. I love the Hippie Train Lodge in Walsenburg, and if we call ahead I can stay at the Yellow Pine Ranch.
In conclusion, as a dog, Spanish Peaks Country is a dream vacation. Meet me there, and bring your pooch!
With face licks and many tail wags,
Your truest friend ever,


Mission: Wolf is a peaceful sanctuary for captive wolves and wolf-dog crosses in the mountains of Huerfano County.

The more than 30 wolves and wolf-dog crosses living at Mission: Wolf all have one thing in common—they were born in a cage. At Mission: Wolf, these animals are given a second chance at a happy life while also acting as ambassadors for the quarter of a million wolves currently in captivity.


The sanctuary’s many volunteers teach visitors why wolves don’t make great pets and why wild wolves are vital to a healthy ecosystem. Its main goal, however, is to educate the public about resolving conflicts between humans and wolves with the hope of ensuring a better future for wolves.

Mission: Wolf travels the country every year with its ambassador wolves to teach people about the value of wild wolves and the drawbacks of trying to keep a wild animal as a pet.

The sanctuary’s dream is to one day tear down its fences, turn the wolf sanctuary into a nature center, and listen to the wolves howling in the wild because then, and only then, will it have completed its mission—to educate enough people on the need to keep wolves wild so that there are no longer captive wolves in need of rescue.

Mission: Wolf is located off-the-grid under the shadows of Colorado’s Spanish Peaks. With solar-powered electricity and hot water, organic greenhouses, passive solar buildings made from recycled materials, and vehicles powered by vegetable oil, its facility serves as an example for visitors interested in sustainable living.


Spanish Peaks Country offers a variety of markets featuring locally grown food and hand-crafted goods. Check out any one of the following markets.


Thursdays, 3 pm to 6 pm
Mid-May through Mid-October
Location: La Veta Library/Francisco Fort Museum Courtyard

The La Veta Farmers Market is a vibrant market venue, offering only locally and sustainably grown produce, vegetable and flower starts, organic lamb & pork & beef, sweet and savory pies, fresh baked breads, granola, jams, sauces, and honey.

Locally made products like soaps, woodworking, jewelry, skin care products are available each week. The market is free to vendors and everyone is welcome to participate.


Saturdays, 10 am to 12:30 pm
May through October
Location: Pavilion next to Gardner Methodist Church

Since 2011, our wee village farmers market offers locals and visitors fresh local vegetables, fresh baked breads, sweet and savory pies, organic lamb & pork & beef, ice cream, granola, jams and sauces, fresh eggs, dried mushrooms, skin care products, quilts, jewelry and more. We offer only homemade or homegrown items.


Sundays, 10 am to 1 pm
June through September
Location: Heritage Park, Walsenburg

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Nestled in Southern Colorado, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve features North America’s tallest dunes, which rise over 750 feet high against the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

This fragile and complex ecosystem, which receives roughly 300,000 visitors annually, is an outdoor playground unlike any other. Hiking is the most popular activity at the park, and some visitors take the six-mile hike and summit the park’s tallest dune, Star Dune, for spectacular views of the park. Aside from hiking the dunes, visitors also surf them on a sand sled or a sandboard, both available for rent at Great Sand Dunes Oasis just outside the park entrance.


In late May, Medano Creek runs at its peak flow, making it a terrific time to splash, wade, and float in the cool, snow-melt waters. Along the creek, a sandy beach is ideal for parking chairs, an umbrella, and a cooler and spending the day. Please note that the life of Medano Creek is short as the creek dries up by July or August.

Although it’s not within the park, Zapata Falls is roughly 5 miles from the park entrance. The road to the trailhead is a rough, washboard 3-mile drive, and the hike is a one-mile round trip with a wade through a slot canyon. But the journey is definitely worth it, for the destination is breathtaking.

Take your 4WD vehicle on Medano Primitive Road, which gives you access to the remote portions of the park and preserve, or stay late into the evening to view some of the most spectacular stars you’ve ever seen.

Whatever you choose to do within the park, know you’re in for a treat and an experience unlike ever before.

Wheelchair Accessible Adventures in Spanish Peaks Country

It can be hard to find trails with both beautiful views and wheelchair accessibility. Below we’ve highlighted some ideas in the Spanish Peaks Country that offer beautiful vistas for everyone of all ages and abilities.

West Peak Trail

In the San Isabel National Forest is the West Peak Trail at the top of Cordova Pass. The trail begins with a slight incline but is primarily flat and easily navigable. While some areas might be a little tiring, the views of the Spanish Peaks, the Sangres, and Wet Mountains are well worth it. The trail is 1.5 miles with a slight elevation gain of only a few hundred feet.

Cuerno Verde Trail

This completely paved trail that wraps around Martin Lake, offers scenic views with full ADA compliance. With all motorized use prohibited, this trial is only shared with bikers and hikers.

School Nature Trail

The School Nature Trail is an interpretive loop trail with easy flat paths around the park. Great views of the park and Mt. Maestas can be seen throughout the turns of the trail.