About the Area
The La Veta Cuchara Area
Welcome to beautiful Southern Colorado. Here you will find charming towns, interesting shops, beautiful golf courses, museums, restaurants, lodging and the splendor of the Cuchara Valley.
The Spanish Peaks rise up to meet the clouds and to renew your spirits. With its majestic dike walls along the Highway of Legends, this is truly an area of beauty and drama nestled against the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos.
Whether you go from La Veta to Cuchara, from Walsenburg to Westcliffe, from Aguilar to Apishapa Arch, or from Cuchara Pass down to Cordova Plaza, there is a unique property for everyone. And we can help you find yours.
It all began along a dirt trail first carved out by the Ute Indians in the 1770's as a pathway through the valleys to neighboring Apache tribes. In 1862, Colonel John Francisco founded the Town. The railroad came to La Veta in 1876 and for many years it was the highest railroad in the world. Today locals call our valley road the Highway of Legends. It is considered to be one of the most beautiful and culturally historic areas in Colorado.
(Also See History/Legends Section)
On Highway 12, you enter the quaint community of La Veta. It is a town of approximately 900 people, nestled up against the base of the Spanish Peaks. La Veta's elevation is 7,013' and represents the gateway to the valley. Artists have been coming here for years for both instruction and inspiration. Along with musicians, ranchers, retailers, teachers, cowboys and other local folks, La Veta has a colorful and diverse mix of people.
As you travel out of town, you pass the Grandote Peaks Golf Club designed by Tom Weiskopf. It is a challenging course and spectacular beauty abounds. The golf course is open to the public April 1 - October 31.
As the Highway leaves town it begins a gentle climb towards Cuchara Pass. Along the way, you pass many unique Dikes or Walls radiating out from the base of the Spanish Peaks. They vary from 1 to 100 feet wide and up to 14 miles long. They are indeed a prominent feature of the landscape around the Peaks.
Twelve miles up the highway from La Veta, is the small mountain village of Cuchara. It sits at an elevation of 8,650' at the base of the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Cuchara has more than 400 homes or cabins scattered through the Valley. Seasonal in nature, the Summer population may often swell to over 600 people, but the full time year-round residents are less than half that number.
Deer, elk, bear, owls and eagles are plentiful here, (plus an occasional mountain lion). The towering fir and aspen trees are simply breathtaking. Dotted with both Summer cabins and year-round homes, the Cuchara area represents Colorado alpine mountain forests at their finest.
Just past the village, look for the turnoff to the Mountain Resort. Although the Ski facilities have not been in operation for the past year, the Panadero Loop road travels through one of the largest aspen groves in the state. Beautiful homes, cabins and condos are tucked away in the timber.
Further up Highway 12, look for the Cuchara Recreation Area to the West. The improved gravel road leads through two legendary mountain lakes. Blue and Bear Lakes, and a beautiful US Forest Service campground. The scenic drive up to the Pass, rises to an elevation of 9,994' and provides a stunning view of the upper Cuchara Valley. Just over the Pass you will see North Lake and Monument Lake, as you begin your descent towards Stonewall and Trinidad.
In 2000, Congress added much of the Spanish Peaks to the National Wilderness Preservation Program. It now encompasses a 19,200 acre pristine area of the San Isabel National Forest.
Conveniently located 3 hours to Denver or Santa Fe. Only 2 hours to Colorado Springs or Taos. One hour to Trinidad or Pueblo.
Between Pueblo and Trinidad, on I-25, exit at Walsenburg and take Highway 160 West, 13 miles to the junction with Highway 12. Then turn Southwest, 5 miles to LA VETA. To continue on to CUCHARA, just stay on Highway 12 through La Veta, going south for another 12 miles. After crossing over the Cuchara Pass, this highway continues back to Trinidad.