Highway of Legends

The Scenic Highway of Legends is one of the first three scenic Highways in the State of Colorado and also one of the most scenic, beautiful and historic drives in Colorado. The Colorado State Scenic Byway begins either in La Veta or Trinidad and takes you through 22 communities, points of interest, scenic vistas, historical, cultural and recreational areas. If you visit this area be sure to take the drive around the Highway of Legends.

Map of the Highway of Legends

Highway 12 “The Highway of Legends” is in Blue

And the recently designated Scenic Byway to the Scenic Highway runs from Aguilar to Cuchara Pass is in Purple

From Trinidad you will drive west on Colorado State Highway 12 past the historic Coke Ovens in Cokedale and then through some friendly small towns such as Segundo, Primero, Weston and then on to Stonewall. Just before Stonewall on the right side where the North Fork of the Purgatorie River crosses Highway 12 you will see the famous House on the Bridge, one of the most photographed and painted structures in the county.

Sign that says "Entering God's Country" with Aspens turning yellow in the background.

This is one of the absolutely most beautiful drives in the entire State of Colorado!
You will see this sign on the Scenic Byway near the National Forest between
Aguilar and Cordova Pass. Look for it!

When you get to the Picketwire Store this is where you want to take a little side trip to Torres and Tercio. Take a left here at the store and follow this road down about 4-5 miles to the fork in the road and take a left turn. You can only drive a few more miles before you have to turn around again but I hope you were keeping your eyes open for deer, elk, turkey and black bears as you were driving. This is all private land so please respect that but do enjoy these incredible views. The views get even better on the way back to the main highway and Stonewall.

Tercio Valley near Stonewall
Tercio Valley south of Stonewall This is by far one of the most beautiful
valleys in Colorado!

Taking a left when you get back to the Picketwire Store you will be in Stonewall in a just a bit. Stonewall Colorado is one of the oldest resort and vacation areas in this part of the state but you won’t find it filled with too many tourists. You will see the Stonewall Shop and Bag and the Stonewall Inn and RV Park on the right just before you go through the gap in the famous stonewalls. The dakota era sandstone walls tower above stonewall and they will impress you with their natural beauty.

Next stop is Monument Lake where you can rent a room in season or camp while you relax and fish if you care too in this beautiful high mountain spring fed lake. You can even see Fisher’s Peak and Raton Mesa back in Trinidad from here. Just a mile or so from here you will come to North Lake where you can almost always catch your limit in what is also the City of Trinidad’s Water Supply. If only all of our water supplies were so pure and clean!

Old Church near North Fork with the Sangre de Cristos in the background!
Church near North Fork west of Trinidad just off of Highway 12

Next just a little further down the road you will come to the old Storz Ranch and if you look close you will see a sign on the fence “Not For Sale, Don’t Even Ask”. Guess that says it all. Then it starts opening up into what I think is one of the most beautiful valley’s that I have ever been to, this is just before Stonewall.

Cuchara Pass is not far from here and the 10,000 foot elevation is the highest on Highway 12 but you can take a short side trip to the Trail Head on the West Spanish Peak and climb to the top of this 13, 626 ft mountain which is one of our most favorite in this area along with it sister peak, the East Spanish Peak and it top out at 12, 683 ft.

From Cuchara Pass its nothing but downhill to the town of Cuchara but just at the bottom of this drive you will find the entrance to Bear and Blue Lake in the San Isabel National Forest. Now if you like uncrowded fishing in beautiful high mountain lakes be sure to take this side trip off the Highway of Legends.

Cuchara reminds you of an old western town complete with hitching posts and the Dog Bar Salloon and it has been one of our most favorite getaways in the area where you will find some nice quaint B&B’s and horse back riding. Look close for the downtown area of Cuchara or you will miss it. There are many mountain summer homes here where the lucky come to escape the heat, be sure to check this beautiful old west town out on your trip along the Highway of Legends.

The drive from here to La Veta is breath taking so drive it slow and be safe and enjoy the natural wonders and you will understand why so many geologist from all over the world come here to study our unique area.

Next stop…..is La Veta and one of the cutest and “down to earth” mountain towns that you will ever find. You will find a few places to spend the night, get a bite to eat, fuel up and just explore the town, art shops, old Spanish Fort and all the other goodies that La Veta has to offer. This is the last stop on Highway 12 but you will continue on to Highway 160 and then back to Walsenburg.

In Walsenburg you will also find food, drinks, fuel and other neat things in this super friendly town on the crossroads of the Interstate and the main east-west Southern Colorado Highway 160 that takes you to Durango and points beyond. And from here you can go north or head back south to Trinidad where you started. We sincerely hope that you do not miss this incredible tour of the Scenic Highway of Legends because if you do you will never know just how special it really is. This is one trip where you will not be on the tourist map……

Photos taken by Adobe Gold Properties and other contributors.

Photo of Highway 12 going toward Stonewall with view of the Sangre de Cristos in the background.

This is Highway 12, The Scenic Highway of Legends between Weston and Stonewall

North Lake near Monument Lake

North Lake located on Highway 12 near Monument

Trinidad's Water Supply - North Lake

North Lake, you can see Highway 12 on the left as it wraps around North Lake

This is Trinidad’s Water Supply and a great Fishing Lake..No Boats Allowed!

North Lake with view of the Sangre de Cristos

Another Photo of North Lake with the Sangre’s in the background

Dakota Era Stonewalls near Cuchara

This area is known for its unique Stone walls. This is Dakota era
Sandstone near Cuchara

Horses near Weston Colorado with view of Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Parsons Ranch near Weston And you thought cats were curious!

Grandote Golf Course near La Veta Colorado

View from the La Veta Area Grandote Peaks Golf Club. Photo taken
from the Highway of Legends

Grandote Golf Course near La Veta with View of the West Spanish Peak

Another View from Grandote Peaks off of Highway 12

Old Company Store near the old mining town of Tercio

The Old Company Store at Tercio located South of Stonewall

Photo taken and shared by Walt Wolff, Santa Fe Trail Ranch

Hope you enjoyed your trip through the Highway of Legends photos! This is truly one of the most spectacular undiscovered areas of Colorado that you will ever see!


Want to see more photos of the Highway of Legends? Then you are going to just have to go and see the awesome Photo Slide Show that was taken by Charlie with Adobe Gold Properties of the Scenic Highway of Legends There are many large size high resolution photos on this site for you to enjoy! So just click the link and go and enjoy the show.

But don’t tell anyone cause then it won’t be…..