Cochetopa Hills

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Aerial view of McDonough Reservoir No. 2 in the Cochetopa Hills. McDonough Reservoir No. 2, Saguache County, Colorado (14017145147).jpg
Aerial view of McDonough Reservoir No. 2 in the Cochetopa Hills.
Aerial view of Colorado State Highway 114 through hills near Cochetopa Dome. Colorado State Route 114, Near Cochetopa Dome, Colorado (14223891743).jpg
Aerial view of Colorado State Highway 114 through hills near Cochetopa Dome.

The Cochetopa Hills [1] are a ridge of uplands on the Continental Divide in Saguache County, southern Colorado, United States. [2] [3]



The Cochetopa Hills ridge bridges the southern terminus of the Sawatch Range to the northern terminus of the La Garita Mountains of the San Juan Mountains System. The Cochetopa Hills are characterized by rolling terrain with peaks between 11,000 and 12,000 feet (3,400 and 3,700 m) and noteworthy volcanic geology. The Sawatch Range to the northeast and the La Garita Mountains to the south are characterized by higher peaks.

On USGS topographic maps, the area labeled Cochetopa Hills is roughly bounded by 13,269-foot (4,044 m) Antora Peak, the town of Sargents, the drainage of Cochetopa Creek, and the town of Saguache. North Pass on State Highway 114 and the backcountry Cochetopa Pass allow travel on Colorado State Highway 114 from the upper Rio Grande drainage on the east to the upper Gunnison River drainage on the west. [4]

The practice of naming mid-elevation upland areas in central and southern Colorado using the word hills is also illustrated by the naming of the similar uplands the Arkansas Hills, between the upper Arkansas Valley and South Park.

See also

Aerial view of Cochetopa Creek in the Cochetopa Hills. Cochetopa Creek, Saguache County, Colorado (14017077548).jpg
Aerial view of Cochetopa Creek in the Cochetopa Hills.

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Gunnison National Forest

The Gunnison National Forest is a U.S. National Forest covering 1,672,136 acres in Mesa, Gunnison, Hinsdale and Saguache Counties in Western part of the U.S. state of Colorado. It borders the White River National Forest to the north, the Grand Mesa and Uncompahgre National Forests to the west, the San Isabel National Forest to the east and the Rio Grande National Forest to south. It lies in parts of five counties. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Gunnison, Saguache, Hinsdale, Delta, and Montrose counties.

San Luis Peak

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Poncha Pass

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Cochetopa Pass Mountain pass in Colorado, US

Cochetopa Pass is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of south-central Colorado. It lies on the Continental Divide between the city of Gunnison to the northwest and the town of Saguache to the southeast. It also lies on the boundary between the Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests. Its name is taken from the Cochetopa Hills that it lies within, Cochetopa being the Ute Indian word for "pass of the buffalo". The original pass is traversed by Saguache County Road NN14, a maintained gravel road. Another crossing, sometimes called North Cochetopa Pass and more often simply North Pass, is located nearby on State Highway 114, which is paved and reaches a slightly higher elevation.

Colorado State Highway 114

State Highway 114 (SH 114) is a 61.7 mi (99.3 km) long state highway in southern central Colorado. SH 114's western terminus is at U.S. Route 50 (US 50) east of Gunnison, and the eastern terminus is at US 285 in Saguache.

Marshall Pass

Marshall Pass, elevation 10,842 ft (3,305 m), is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central-southern Colorado. It lies in northern Saguache County on the Continental Divide between the Sawatch Range to the north and the Cochetopa Hills to the south. The pass is part of a backcountry alternative to U.S. Highway 50 between Salida and Gunnison.

La Garita Mountains

The La Garita Mountains are a high mountain range in the San Juan Mountains, a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains are located in Saguache and Mineral counties in southwestern Colorado and are almost entirely managed as public land within the Gunnison National Forest and the Rio Grande National Forest.

The Arkansas Hills are a mountain range in Central Colorado located between the upper Arkansas River Valley and the upper South Platte River Valley. This landmass is a continuation of the ridge known as the Mosquito Range north of Trout Creek Pass. The range continues for roughly 60 miles south-southwest from Trout Creek Pass to the town of Texas Creek. Few perennial streams flow out of the Arkansas Hills, as the area is arid. The range is in the rain shadow of the much higher Sawatch to the west across the Arkansas River Valley. The City of Salida, Colorado is the most notable municipality near the Arkansas Hills. To the south is the town of Cotopaxi, Colorado. To the east is the town of Guffey, Colorado. The highest points in the Arkansas Hills tend to be between 11,000 and 12,000 feet elevation.

La Garita Wilderness Protected area in southwestern Colorado, US

The La Garita Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the La Garita Mountains of southern Colorado. The 129,626-acre (524.58 km2) wilderness established in 1964 in Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests includes segments of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. At 14,014 feet (4,271 m), San Luis Peak is the highest point in the wilderness area.

The place name "Sawatch" found in the Southern Rocky Mountains of North America is pronounced. This name derives from the Ute language noun "sawup" meaning "sand dunes". The Spanish language version of this name found in the San Luis Closed Basin is usually spelled "Saguache", while the English language version found north of the basin is usually spelled "Sawatch".

Cochetopa Creek

Cochetopa Creek is a stream in Saguache and Gunnison counties in Colorado, United States. It rises on San Luis Peak in the La Garita Mountains. It merges with Tomichi Creek near the town of Parlin, Colorado, along Highway 50.


  1. Pronounced /kɪˈtpə/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ) or sometimes locally /kɪˈtp/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ).
  2. Benson, Maxine (1994). 1001 Colorado Place Names. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas. ISBN   0-7006-0632-7.
  3. Lipman 1, Peter W.; William C. McIntosh (2008). "Eruptive and noneruptive calderas, northeastern San Juan Mountains, Colorado: Where did the ignimbrites come from?". Geological Society of America Bulletin. 120 (7–8): 771. Bibcode:2008GSAB..120..771L. doi:10.1130/B26330.1.
  4. Cochetopa Crossing on CO Highway 114

Coordinates: 38°11′22″N106°35′14″W / 38.18944°N 106.58722°W / 38.18944; -106.58722