Aug 04 2011

Legends of Spanish Peaks

Published by at 9:41 pm under General Information

Legend has it the first Europeans to enter the Spanish Peaks area were Spanish militia in the company of a group of priests, sent to look for gold wherever they could find it. Supposedly they found a rich vein somewhere on the peaks and enslaved some local Indians to dig it out for them. When the Spaniards left they killed all the Indians and headed south over Cuchara Pass. They went down to the Purgatoire River and headed west, hoping to cross the Sangre de Cristo’s. Somewhere along the banks of the river they were ambushed by hostile Indians and were wiped out to a man. That’s how the river got its’ name: Rio de las Animas Perdido en Purgatorio, meaning river of souls lost in purgatory (changed to Purgatoire by French trappers).  See more Cuchara Valley history, legends and folklore at

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