Geologic Features of La Veta

The Spanish Peaks are located just east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range and just south of La Veta, Colorado. The Spanish Peaks and all the other features, with few exceptions, were intruded as much as 10 km below the paleo surface that existed some 20-30 million years ago.

The beauty and majesty of these two mountain ranges are enhanced by a necklace of walls (dikes) extending for many miles in all directions focused on West Spanish Peak. Dikes are walls of once-molten rock standing above the surrounding terrain. Driving south from La Veta on CO 12 along the Cucharas River valley, you can experience some of these dikes up close.

Just south of La Veta, on the west side of the road, is the tan-colored Goemmer Butte standing above the terrain. Around each turn, you’ll find spectacular views of the Spanish Peaks and the radial dikes.

Looking west of La Veta, you see the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountain range. There are also several other mountains you can see from La Veta, which are not part of the Spanish Peaks or the Sangre de Cristo range. Two of the most notable northwest of La Veta on the north side of US 160 are Mt. Mestas and Silver Mountain.

Far to the north of La Veta is the southern nose of the Wet Mountains. The highest point of the Wet Mountains that you can see is Greenhorn Peak.

East of La Veta is the Cucharas River valley. The Cucharas River has eroded much of the Park Plateau, another erosional remnant of the apron of sediment that came from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

If you’d like to investigate the geology of the Spanish Peaks in more depth (pun intended), go to