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 of Cuchara is a quaint downtown area with colorful shops, lodging, and restaurants.

Cuchara offers wonderful views of dramatic West Spanish Peak, one of two geological towers once used as guideposts for traveling American Indians and pioneers.

South of town along Colorado 12, part of the scenic Highway of Legends, are gorgeous views topping out at the 9,995-foot Cucharas Pass. Nearby are abundant opportunities for hiking, fishing, OHVing, and camping, especially at Cordova Pass, Cuchara Recreation Area, and Bear and Blue Lakes.

Read “What I’ve Learned From Living on a Mountain.”