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Continue Your Trip Through Colorado Turn of the Century Historic Towns

Continue east from Salida to Texas Creek about 30 miles to Hwy 69.  Take 69 south another 25 miles to Westcliffe.    Click here for map

Westcliffe, Colorado

In 1869, nine hundred colonists of German descent from the back streets of Chicago traveled west together after hearing of a large gold strike in the Colorado Springs area.   Though they did not strike it rich from gold, 100 of the group formed the Wulsten Colonization Colony to homestead near present day Westcliffe at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The railroad came soon after and an official of the Denver & Rio Grande RR, Dr. Bell, built the first Railroad station.   The town grew up around it and later was named by Dr. Bell after his English birthplace, Westcliff-on-the-Sea.

While in Westcliffe, enjoy the beautiful Wet Mountain Valley surrounded by numerous 13,000 and 14,000 ft peaks.   Try horseback riding or rafting on the Arkansas River.  Visit the historic Jones Theatre for live performances in the summer.  For an interesting side trip, take Hwy 96 to Hwy 165 south to Bishop's Castle, a castle built by one man.

Find Lodging

Lamp Post Lodge, Westcliffe, CO
A vacation rental lodge and apartment. Magnificent views.

Hillside Cottages
Gorgeous Cottages 12 miles north of Westcliffe in the tiny town of Hillside

Take Hwy 96 east from Westcliffe to Hwy 165.  Travel southeast about 35 miles through Colorado City to Interstate 25.   Take I25 south through Walsenburg to Trinidad.   If you want a more scenic route, at Walsenburg, turn west on Hwy 160 and drive 10 miles. Take Hwy 12 to La Veta and follow it all the way around to Trinidad, about 70 miles.  This scenic route is called The Highway of Legends.

Trinidad, Colorado

Founded in 1842 by Mexican traders anxious to take advantage of the trade opportunities offered by the Santa Fe Trail, Trinidad is now a city displaying the evidence of its prosperous past, the cobblestone streets, the restored commercial district, restored historic homes such as the Bloom’s and the Baca’s now part of the Trinidad History Museum.

Historic homes located along the old cobblestone roads can be seen by walking up the hill from the downtown area called the Corazon de Trinidad , to the second street. Some have been transformed into B&Bs.

During the summer, a trolley offers free tours of historic Trinidad between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. every day starting from the Welcome Center.

You may also enjoy the galleries, museums, and a relaxing walk along the Purgatoire River.  Take a side trip to see the restored Bent's Fort, the original trading fort on theSanta Fe Trail.

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Learn more about Trinidad

From Trinidad, take either Interstate 25 north to Walsenburg and go west on Hwy 160, or take Hwy 12 (Highway of Legends) west and north from Trinidad to Hwy 160.   Hwy 160 takes you west through old Fort Garland, Alamosa, Monte Vista, and Del Norte.   Climb over Wolf Creek Pass and enjoy the spectacular views, even more breathtaking in the fall.   Drop down off the pass into Pagosa Springs.

Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Pagosa Springs is famous for its soothing hot springs heated by the Great Pagosa Spring, a geothermal pool known to be one of the largest and hottest in the world, droping in depth below 1,500 feet.  This spot was discovered by a U.S. Government surveyor in 1859 who called the hot springs the most beautiful in the world.

It has been important to other cultures such as the Ute and the Navajo who fought many times over control of the spring.

A Greek and Italian architectured bathhouse with various sized tubs stretch from the entrance of the bathhouse down to the San Juan River.  A riverwalk trail runs along the river through the town.

Fish in the San Juan River, mountain bike on trails in town and nearby, visit the Fred Harman museum. Take a side trip to Navajo Lake and Chimney Rock Archaeological Site.

Learn more about Pagosa Springs

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From Pagosa Springs, continue west on Hwy 160 for about 60 miles skirting the San Juan National Forest while Chimney Rock looms in the distance.  Durango sits in the La Plata Valley.



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Great Hotels
Recommendations for a memorable stay in the American West

Trinidad
Best Western Trinidad Inn
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900 West Adams
Trinidad, CO

Pagosa Springs
Pagosa Lodge more about this hotel

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3505 West Highway 160
Pagosa Springs, CO

 
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