Cuchara Pass - North Side

Huerfano County, Colorado

Cuchara Pass
Looking north at the summit of Cuchara Pass, the Sangre de Cristo's through the trees

Cuchara Pass crosses that rib of mountain rock that crosses between the West Spanish Peak and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, just south of Cuchara, Colorado. The photo above was taken at the summit. If I'd turned to the right, I'd have taken a photo of the road junction where the Apishapa Road heads off to the east, past the Farley Wildflower Overlook and then through the San Isabel National Forest, over Cordova Pass and down into Las Animas County. Instead, I got back in the car and headed north, over the summit and down the hill into Huerfano County.

The road passes through several good switchbacks on the way down. Most of the time, you're surrounded by this gorgeous stand of aspens but sometimes there are breaks in the wall of trees and you get some good views of the Sangre de Cristo's and the West Spanish Peak. There's also some spots where you'll see chunks of the Dakota Wall sticking out above the aspens.

The bottom of the pass is probably where the last switchback is, right where the road crosses over the Cucharas River coming out of the mountains. On the north side of the stream is a Forest Service Road leading west and up for 4 miles to Blue Lake, past the turn-off to Trinchera Peak and on for a mile to Bear Lake. The paved road then heads north down the valley past Cuchara Mountain Resort and into the townsite of Cuchara. The exit sign for San Isabel National Forest is just south of the townsite.

Cuchara Pass, Colorado
The ridge in the center is the Dakota Wall, just below it to the left is Cuchara
Cuchara Pass
Dakota Wall in front, one of the White Sister's behind, West Spanish Peak sticking out above
Cuchara Pass
The Sangres, from just above the hairpin turn where the Forest Service Road heads west to Blue Lake,
Bear Lake and Trinchera Peak, staying to the right and on the pavement will take you down into Cuchara logo
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