Huerfano County, Colorado

Towns and Villages in
Huerfano County

Attractions in
Huefano County

Las Animas County, Colorado

Towns and Villages in
Las Animas County

Attractions in
Las Animas County

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Southern Colorado
Your Guide to Las Animas County and Huerfano County in Southern Colorado


Photo courtesy of R. Michael Babnick Photography

La Veta

La Veta, Colorado is situated on the eastern side of La Veta Pass through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and at the northern opening of the Cuchara River Valley. Just south of town is the foot of the West Spanish Peak. At the southern edge of town is the eighteen hole, Tom Weiskopf designed Grandote Golf Course.

La Veta is surrounded by the Great Dikes of the Spanish Peaks - large, vertical granite formations that radiate outward from the Spanish Peaks. These days the town has become known throughout Colorado as an artist colony, although there are still plenty of cattle ranchers and an elk rancher or two. One branch of the Santa Fe Trail led westward into the San Luis Valley via the Sangre de Cristo Pass. In 1862, a former sutler with the US Army at Fort Garland, Col. John M. Francisco, and Judge Henry Daigle built Fort Francisco on land purchased from the Vigil-St. Vrain Land Grant. Originally the Fort was a complete square built around an open plaza in the center. The only gateway opened to the north. The Fort was built of adobe one foot thick, with dirt floors and dirt roofs with parapets for defense. As more settlers moved into this beautiful and fertile valley, the Fort increased in importance as shelter from Indians and as the commercial center for the area.

The first Post Office, named Spanish Peaks, opened in the Plaza in 1871. In 1876 the narrow gauge railroad came through La Veta on its way westward. In 1877 the permanent rail depot was built several blocks north of the Fort and the business community moved north with it. For many years, this stretch of the line was the highest in the world. The old grade can still be seen to the west of La Veta and higher up across Old La Veta Pass.

The old depot building at the summit is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The historic La Veta depot still stands next to Main Street.


Photo courtesy of R. Michael Babnick Photography

La Veta at a glance...

  • Elevation: 6,500 feet
  • Average annual precipitation: 18.0 inches
  • Terrain: Alpine mountain valley bridging mountains and high plains
  • January temperature: High: 48 Low: 19
  • July temperature: High: 91 Low 58
  • Days of Sunshine per year: 300+
  • La Veta Population 2000 census: 924
  • Huerfano County Population 2000 census: 7,862


Photo courtesy of R. Michael Babnick Photography

For more information...

Town Hall. 111 West Moore Street. Phone: (719) 742-3631.
La Veta Public Library. 310 South Main. Phone: (719) 742-3572.
La Veta Fire Protection Dist. 111 South Main. Phone: (719) 742-3656.
La Veta Elementary School . 117 East Garland. Phone: (719) 742-3621.
La Veta Schools, High School . 126 East Garland. Phone: (719) 742-3662.
La Veta Cuchara Chamber of Commerce. Phone: (719) 742-3676. http://www.lavetacucharachamber.com/

Attractions in and near La Veta

Fort Francisco Museum.  FRANCISCO FORT was built in Colorado Territory in 1862.

Grandote Peaks Golf Club.  At the base of the majestic Spanish Peaks

Great Dikes of the Spanish Peaks.  

Huerfano County State Trust Lands.  Eight separate wilderness tracts for your enjoyment.

Lathrop State Park.  Lathrop State Park is nestled among the pi�ons and junipers on the prairie west of Walsenburg.

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad.  The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operates The San Luis Express between Alamosa and La Veta.

Sangre de Cristo Mountains.  

San Isabel National Forest.  San Isabel National Forest is one of eleven National Forests in Colorado. The Forest includes over one million acres of beautiful scenery with snow-capped mountain peaks, spring wildflowers, autumn colors, crystal clear mountain lakes, and clear blue skies to enjoy.

Spanish Peaks.  The Spanish Peaks are wwo isolated masses of granite that rise 7,000 feet above the plains between Trinidad and Walsenburg. The Indians called these peaks Wahatoya, meaning "breasts of the world."

The Scenic Highway of Legends.  State Highway 12, the Scenic Highway of Legends ties Trinidad, Weston, Stonewall, Cuchara, La Veta, and Walsenburg together with a ribbon of asphalt that journeys through some of the most beautiful mountain countryside in the world.

Wahatoya State Wildlife Area.  

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