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Mountains & Geology

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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