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Cameron Mine

The Cameron Mine was opened prior to the incorporation of the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company under the Colorado Coal and Iron Company. It was named after James Cameron, a manager for the CC&I who died in 1881. The Cameron Mine was located along the main line of the C&S railroad just south of Walsenburg [...]

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Spanish Peaks Country Heritage

Prior to the Europeans arrival, Spanish Peaks Country served as a crossroads for the native people of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Taos Pueblo in New Mexico was a major trading center for over 1,000 years, and the Native people, who spread many trading routes from Taos, headed north most frequently, crossing into Colorado’s [...]

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Legendary Trails of Southern Colorado

The Pueblo and Taos Indians The Pueblo Indians of Taos in the 1300s had a well-established system of hunting and trading trails in southern Colorado. Long before Coronado’s men “discovered” them in 1540, the Taos Indians were known as gifted traders and were famous for their regional trade fairs. They operated on the interface between [...]

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Sheep and Little Sheep Mountains

Sheep (10,635′) and Little Sheep (9,679′) Mountains are in a line heading northward from Mt. Mestas. Both of these mountains are composed of the same granitic stock materials as Mt. Mestas, Silver Mountain, Rough Mountain, and the Spanish Peaks. Climbing on them is climbing mostly on boulders and loose talus slopes. Even under the trees [...]

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The Dakota Wall

The Dakota Wall, a sandstone formation nicknamed the "Backbone of the Rockies," was formed when fault lines were broken and turned upright. These great sandstone walls stretch all along the Front Range of the Rockies and are visible in Spanish Peaks Country when traveling through the Cucharas River Valley, over La Veta Pass, and into [...]

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Silver Mountain

Silver Mountain rises just east of Mt. Mestas and is composed of the same granitic materials. However, Silver Mountain is also at the center of a set of granitic dikes radiating outward like spokes on a wheel around the mountain. For most of its history, Silver Mountain was known as Dike Mountain. That changed in some circles in the late [...]

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The Wet Mountains

The Wet Mountains, a small sub-range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, are named for the amount of snow they receive each winter. Most of the Wet Mountains are in Custer County, although Greenhorn Mountain (the range's tallest summit) and some other parts of the range are in Huerfano County. The granite that composes most [...]

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Trinchera Peak

Standing at 13,517 feet, Trinchera ("trench") Peak is the northernmost thirteener in the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristos. Trinchera Peak is located near Cuchara where the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains creates a north striking ridge. This ridge formed when flat lying sandstone strata were thrust into a vertical orientation [...]

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Greenhorn Mountain

Greenhorn Mountain sits near the northern edge of Spanish Peaks Country. Although the mountain's summit is just 12,347 feet and only ranks as the 1,107 highest peak in the state, there isn’t a higher mountain for over forty miles, making its summit an ideal spot for a 360-degree view. The endless vista of the Great [...]

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Mt. Lindsey

14,042-foot Mount Lindsey is a high mountain summit on the Sierra Blanca Massif in the Sangre de Cristo Range. The summit and most of the southern flank of the mountain are privately held, but access to the summit is allowed. In 1954, the name was changed to honor Malcolm Lindsey, a beloved chaperone for the [...]

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The Trujillo Homesteads

The Trujillo Homesteads, settled in the 1860s and 1870s by Teofilo Trujillo and his son, Pedro, are located in Alamosa County along the western boundary of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. In 1864, at the age of 24, Teofilo Trujillo migrated from northern New Mexico to San Pablo, Colorado, where he acquired [...]

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The Taos Mountain Trail

Part of the noted Taos or Trapper's Trail leading from Bent's Fort to Taos ascended the Huerfano River from the Arkansas River to the old community of Badito, branched southwest up Oak Creek, and crossed the east side of Sheep Mountain and the west side of Mount Mestas to Sangre de Cristo Creek. The old [...]

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Mt. Mestas

Mt. Mestas is a mountain summit in the southeastern Sangre de Cristo Range. The 11,573-foot peak is located 3.2 miles southeast of North La Veta Pass. The mountain was known as La Veta Peak until 1949 when it was renamed in honor of PFC Felix B. Mestas, Jr. who was killed in action during the [...]

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Tom Sharp

Tom Sharp was born in Hannibal Missouri, the same birthplace as and within a few years of Mark Twain and the “Unsinkable” Molly Brown. Tom Sharp served the Confederacy during the Civil War but received numerous wounds for his efforts and was paroled from the Army of the South early in the war. He spent [...]

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Historical Characters of Spanish Peaks Country

Francis X. Aubry Francis X. Aubry Also known as “The Telegraph,” Francis X. Aubry pioneered the “Aubry Cutoff” on the Santa Fe Trail. From a point on the Arkansas River, just east of present-day Syracuse, Kansas, he headed across southeastern Colorado to the Cimarron River. Aubry is best remembered for a ride he made from [...]

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The Great Dikes

The Great Dikes of Spanish Peaks Country formed during the same period of volcanic activity as the Spanish Peaks, Mt. Mestas, and Silver Mountain. These vertical granite formations were formed by molten rock several thousand feet underground, below and among many layers of sedimentary rock. Over time, the ground rose and the softer rock eroded [...]

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Kit Carson

Kit Carson grew up on the Missouri border, watching his older brothers, one-by-one, disappear up the Missouri River or over the Santa Fe Trail. After his father died in a field accident, his mother apprenticed him to a saddle maker in Franklin. That life didn’t suit him, and in 1826, at the age of 16, [...]

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Blanca Peak

At 14,351 feet, Blanca Peak is Colorado’s fourth highest peak and the highest summit of the Sierra Blanca Massif, the Sangre de Cristo Range, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Blanca Peak is located at the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Range. It lies approximately 20 miles northeast of the town of Alamosa [...]

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California Peak

California Peak, the 84th highest peak in Colorado, sits along the spine of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains directly north of  Mt. Blanca. The 13,855-foot thirteener is more specifically located on the Sierra Blanca Massif, 12.1 miles north of the Town of Blanca, on the drainage divide separating the Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa [...]

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Juan Bautista de Anza & Cuerno Verde

Cuerno Verde: Spain's Don Juan de Oñate founded New Mexico on behalf of his home country in 1598. This new frontier expanded for hundreds, if not thousands of miles in the minds of the Spanish. This mentality led to decades of battles between the Spaniards and the native people, including the Navajos and the Comanches [...]

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The Bent, St. Vrain & Company

The Bent, St. Vrain & Company was formed in 1830 by William and Charles Bent, sons of a wealthy and influential St. Louis judge, and Ceran St. Vrain, a Taos trader and ex-trapper. About the Company: After its formation in 1830, The Bent, St. Vrain & Company’s Mexican trade grew rapidly as their wagon trains [...]

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Huerfano Butte

Ten miles north of Walsenburg, just off Highway 25, is Huerfano Butte, a conical-shaped circular plug that draws hundreds of visitors every year. It rises from the ground, contrasting the surrounding gently rolling hills of sagebrush and sparse grass, and gives the impression of being out of place. The butte stands 300-foot high like a [...]

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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 [...]

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La Veta Oktoberfest

If you haven’t had a chance to attend La Veta’s Oktoberfest, what are you waiting for? Held on the first Saturday of every October, this incredible day includes a car show, German band, dancing in the street all day long, over 60 arts, crafts, and food vendors, a Veteran's tribute, and a German Biergarten. Festivities [...]

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Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival

Attend the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival and become enchanted by world-renowned Celtic artists and scholars guaranteed to keep you singing, dancing, and enjoying music day and night in various locations throughout Spanish Peaks Country! Hundreds, maybe thousands of years ago, Spanish Peaks Country became an intersection of cultures and traditions. Indigenous natives, Spanish [...]

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Huajatolla Heritage Festival

The Hujatolla Heritage Festival is a special two-day event in Spanish Peaks County that honors the area's Hispano and Native American cultures. This June, come and honor Hispano and Native American Cultures through music, art, food, dance, education, and more in the shadows of the beautiful Spanish Peaks (The Huajatollas or Wahatoyas). The Huajatolla Heritage Festival [...]

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Gardner Chuckwagon Supper

Each summer, hundreds of old friends from throughout the nation travel to Gardner to reminisce about old times and enjoy pleasant camaraderie during the Annual Gardner Chuckwagon Supper. The smells of pit-roasted beef and buttered corn-on-the-cob fill the air along with the aromas of baked beans, hot biscuits, potatoes and gravy, strong cowboy coffee, iced [...]

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Francisco Fort Day

Francisco Fort Day is a celebration of the Francisco Fort Museum and the beginnings of La Veta, Colorado. Admission is free, and visitors are treated to special presentations. This celebration is a day filled with fun activities for everyone, such as bed races, duck races, chicken drop, activities for kids, performers, and a craft and [...]

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Art in the Park

The Spanish Peaks Art Council (SPACe) hosts Art in the Park in La Veta every year on the weekend closest to Independence Day. During this art festival, all kinds of handmade arts, crafts, jewelry, apparel, paintings, ceramics, wood, and more are available for purchase. There are no factory-made items at this event nor are there [...]

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Mountain Mining Days

Each September, the Walsenburg Downtown Revitalization Committee presents Mountain Mining Days, an end of summer celebration at Miners Plaza in Walsenburg. The fun starts with a downtown parade featuring marching bands, horses, collectible cars, and so much more! Along 6th street, food and artisan vendors, a kids’ zone with fun games, face painting, and other [...]

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Spanish Peaks Music Festival

The Spanish Peaks Music Festival comes to La Veta for two days each July and features a solid lineup of awesome country music. People come from all over and pour into the La Veta Airport along the Scenic Highway of Legends for this jam-packed concert. Parking is easy, camping is available, and kids are welcome. View [...]

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Dog Days of Cuchara

Bring your dog! Dress up like a dog! Wear a crazy hat! Anything goes! This street party and parade offer live music, a family parade, kids games, big dog and little dog races, face painting, a photo booth, a dog jog, a corn hole tournament, a hat party, fundraisers for the firefighters, and more! Pleases [...]

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Cuchara

Cuchara is a charming, mountain village tucked on the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the heart of the Cucharas River Valley. Surrounded by the San Isabel National Forest with all its lakes, mountains, and wilderness, this village is a favorite respite for Colorado hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts. At the heart [...]

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Walsenburg

Walsenburg, Huerfano Country’s county seat, sits in the heart of Spanish Peaks Country. With I-25, Highway 160, and Highway 10 meeting in Walsenburg, this quaint, Southern Colorado gem is a popular stop for travelers who delight in its small-town charm and history, natural wonders, and artistic inspiration of the surrounding area. Visitors enjoy Walsenburg’s antique [...]

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Huerfano County Historical Society

Take a deep dive into Huerfano County’s history with the Huerfano County Historical Society. This organization collects archival photos, newspapers, and Huerfano County records from the 1890s to the present. It also manages the Walsenburg Mining Museum and the Francisco Fort Museum. Find the Huerfano County Historical Society at the Huerfano Heritage Center in Walsenburg. [...]

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The Spanish Peaks

The Spanish Peaks are geologically distinct from the faulted and uplifted mountains of the Sangre de Cristo range to the west. To the geologist, the Spanish Peaks are prime examples of stocks—large masses of igneous rock layered by sedimentary rock and exposed by erosion. Stocks 27 million years ago, pressures and stresses built up by [...]

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A People’s History of the Spanish Peaks

The Spanish Peaks of Southern Colorado have been among the most important landmarks of the southwestern United States, guiding Native American tribes, Spanish and French trappers, gold seekers, hunters, and American settlers. The Ute, Comanche, Apache, and other, earlier Native American tribes held the peaks in religious awe and named the mountains Wahatoya, meaning “Breasts [...]

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The Sangre de Cristo Mountains

The Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range is one of the longest ranges on Earth. It stretches from Poncha Pass in Central Colorado to Glorieta Pass southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Sangres consist of ten 14,000-foot peaks and more than two dozen 13,000-foot peaks. Hundreds of miles of excellent alpine hiking trails weave throughout [...]

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Gardner

Gardner is a small community halfway between the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in upper Huerfano County. Historically, the area was crisscrossed by Ute, Comanche, and Apache hunting parties, Spanish conquistadors, and French trappers. While a few groups of early Americans came and went in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, [...]

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The Ludlow Massacre and the Colorado Coalfield War

During Colorado’s coal mining days, colliers experienced twice the number of deaths compared to anywhere else in the world. These high death tolls reflected the mine owners’ gross negligence to safety. Though colliers wished to complain about their working conditions to mine owners, without a union, they would be fired on the spot. Moreover, companies [...]

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