La Veta Pass

La Veta Pass (more properly known as North La Veta Pass) bridges the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between the eastern plains and the San Luis Valley at an elevation of 9,413 feet. It lies 1.6 miles northeast of Old La Veta pass and is now accessed via Highway 160.

Old La Veta Pass was once the main trail route between the San Luis Valley and Walsenburg, first on the narrow-gauge Denver and Rio Grande Railway and later on a wagon road. Old La Veta Pass is now an unpaved and lightly traveled back road.

To get to La Veta Pass, travel west from Walsenburg on Highway 160 as it crosses the broken plateau of western Huerfano County, passes along the south side of Mt. Mestas, and rises to the top of the pass.

Cool fact: You can see La Veta Pass aboard a historic train when you ride the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad. See sweeping rugged mountain vistas and a variety of wildlife while enjoying tales of railroad and mining history as you travel over La Veta pass in air-conditioned comfort.

Upon reaching the top of the pass, the western vistas open up into a wide-open bowl. For a gorgeous drive into Upper Huerfano County, take Pass Creek Road, which runs north from La Veta Pass.

La Veta Pass offers some of the best star gazing in the county. From here, you can also access the Uptop Historic District, a restored property once home to the Denver and Rio Grande Railway Depot, horse-drawn sawmills, and a tavern.