|Spanish Peaks Wilderness|
West Spanish Peak in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness
|Location||Huerfano / Las Animas counties, Colorado, United States|
|Area||19,226 acres (77.80 km2)|
|Established||January 1, 2000|
|Governing body||U.S. Forest Service|
The Spanish Peaks Wilderness is a 19,226 acres (77.80 km2) wilderness area in Huerfano County and Las Animas County, Colorado, United States, located 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Walsenburg. All of the wilderness area is located within San Isabel National Forest, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
The Spanish Peaks (Spanish : Las Cumbres Españolas) are prominent landmarks along the eastern front of the southern Rockies. Their snow-capped summits of the East Spanish Peak and the West Spanish Peak, rise 7,000 feet (2,100 m) above the arid plains, made the "Double Mountain" an easily recognizable reference point to travelers of all cultures. The West Spanish Peak with an elevation of 13,623 feet (4,152 m), overtops the East Spanish Peak which only has an elevation of 12,708 feet (3,873 m). However, this difference is not readily discernible from a distance.
The Peaks have traditional and religious significance to American Indian tribes including the Apache, Comanche, and Ute. The common Indian name appears in at least three different spellings in various accounts, reflecting different renditions of oral expression. These are "Wahatoya", Huajatolla" or Guajatoyah". This is widely reported to be a Ute name meaning "breasts of the earth", but is in fact a Comanche name translating to "double mountain".
The Spanish Peaks are geologically distinct from the faulted and uplifted mountains of the Sangre de Cristo range to the west. To the geologist the Spanish Peaks are prime examples of "stocks" which are defined as large masses of igneous (molten) rock which intruded layers of sedimentary rock and were later exposed by erosion. When mapped by geologists the Peaks were found to be masses of granite, granodiorite, and syenodiorite.
Among the most unusual features of the Spanish Peaks are the great dikes which radiate out from the mountains like spokes of a wheel. These walls of rock are often spectacular. They are easily visible from the highway north of the peaks (and west of Walsenburg), and pictures of them have been used as type examples in more than one introductory geology textbook. Several can be easily seen up close on back dirt roads, and one (Apishapa Arch) on the south side of the peaks can actually be driven through.
Huerfano County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,711. The county seat is Walsenburg. The county, whose name comes from the Spanish huérfano meaning "orphan", was named for the Huerfano Butte, a local landmark. The area of Huerfano County boomed early in the 1900s with the discovery of large coal deposits. After large scale World War II coal demand ended in the 1940s Walsenburg and Huerfano saw a steady economic decline through 2015.
The Bighorn Mountains are a mountain range in northern Wyoming and southern Montana in the United States, forming a northwest-trending spur from the Rocky Mountains extending approximately 200 miles (320 km) northward on the Great Plains. They are separated from the Absaroka Range, which lie on the main branch of the Rockies to the west, by the Bighorn Basin. Much of the land is contained within the Bighorn National Forest.
The Yampa River flows 250 miles (400 km) through northwestern Colorado in the United States. Rising in the Rocky Mountains, it is a tributary of the Green River and a major part of the Colorado River system. The Yampa is one of the few free-flowing rivers in the western United States, with only a few small dams and diversions.
The Sangre de Cristo Mountains are the southernmost subrange of the Rocky Mountains. They are located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico in the United States. The mountains run from Poncha Pass in South-Central Colorado, trending southeast and south, ending at Glorieta Pass, southeast of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The mountains contain a number of fourteen thousand foot peaks in the Colorado portion, as well as all the peaks in New Mexico which are over thirteen thousand feet.
Taum Sauk Mountain in the Saint Francois Mountains is the highest natural point in the U.S. state of Missouri at 1,772 feet . The topography of Taum Sauk is that of an elongated ridge with a NNW-SSE orientation rather than a peak.
Blanca Peak is the fourth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The ultra-prominent 14,351-foot (4,374 m) peak is the highest summit of the Sierra Blanca Massif, the Sangre de Cristo Range, and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The fourteener is located 9.6 miles (15.5 km) north by east of the Town of Blanca, on the drainage divide separating Rio Grande National Forest and Alamosa County from the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant and Costilla County. The summit is the highest point of both counties and the entire drainage basin of the Rio Grande. Below the steep North Face of Blanca Peak two live Glaciers once developed, until extinction sometime after 1903. North & South Blanca Glaciers were located at 37° 35N.,longitude 105° 28W. Blanca Peak is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.
Ute Mountain, also known as Ute Peak or Sleeping Ute Mountain, is a peak within the Ute Mountains, a small mountain range in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It is on the northern edge of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe Reservation. The Reservation forms the southwestern corner of the state and of Montezuma County.
The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. The Weminuche Wilderness was designated by Congress in 1975, and expanded by the Colorado Wilderness Acts of 1980 and 1993. It is located 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of the town of Silverton, 17 miles (27 km) northeast of Durango, and 8 miles (13 km) west of South Fork. At 499,771 acres (2,022.50 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. Elevation in the wilderness ranges from 7,700 feet (2,300 m) along the Animas River to 14,093 feet (4,296 m) at the summit of Windom Peak.
Greenhorn Mountain is the highest summit of the Wet Mountains range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 12,352-foot (3,765 m) peak is located in the Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 5.2 miles (8.4 km) southwest by west of the Town of Rye, Colorado, United States, on the boundary between Huerfano and Pueblo counties. The summit of Greenhorn Mountain is the highest point in Pueblo County, Colorado. The peak's summit rises above timberline, which is about 11,500 feet (3,500 m) in south-central Colorado.
San Isabel National Forest is located in central Colorado. The forest contains 19 of the state's 53 fourteeners, peaks over 14,000 feet (4,267 m) high, including Mount Elbert, the highest point in Colorado.
The Wet Mountains are a small mountain range in southern Colorado, named for the amount of snow they receive in the winter. They are a sub-range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, in the southern Rocky Mountains System. There are three variant names of mountain range: Cuerno Verde, Greenhorn Mountains, and Sierra Mojada.
The Spanish Peaks are a pair of prominent mountains located in southwestern Huerfano County, Colorado. The Comanche people call them Huajatolla meaning "double mountain".
West Spanish Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit that is the higher of the two Spanish Peaks in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 13,631-foot (4,155 m) peak is located in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.1 miles (14.7 km) south of the Town of La Veta, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide between Huerfano and Las Animas counties. The summit of West Spanish Peak is the highest point in Las Animas County, Colorado.
East Spanish Peak is a prominent mountain summit that is the lower of the two Spanish Peaks in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 12,688-foot (3,867 m) peak is located in the Spanish Peaks Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 9.3 miles (14.9 km) southeast by south of the Town of La Veta, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide between Huerfano and Las Animas counties. The Spanish Peaks are two large igneous stocks which form an eastern outlier of the Culebra Range, a subrange of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. East Spanish Peak is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude; it is also the easternmost point in the United States over 12,000 feet (3,700 m), 11,000 feet (3,400 m), and 10,000 feet (3,000 m) feet above sea level.
The Indian Peaks Wilderness is a wilderness area in north central Colorado managed jointly by the United States Forest Service and the National Park Service within the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and small parts of the southern section of Rocky Mountain National Park. It borders the James Peak Wilderness to the south, and straddles the Continental Divide. The area receives high visitation due to its proximity to the Denver metropolitan area.
The Sawtooth Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in central Idaho, United States, reaching a maximum elevation of 10,751 feet (3,277 m) at the summit of Thompson Peak. It encompasses an area of 678 square miles (1,756 km2) spanning parts of Custer, Boise, Blaine, and Elmore counties, and is bordered to the east by the Sawtooth Valley. Much of the mountain range is within the Sawtooth Wilderness, part of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth National Forest.
The Dick Smith Wilderness is a wilderness area in the mountains of eastern Santa Barbara County, California, United States, with a portion in Ventura County. It is completely contained within the Los Padres National Forest, and is northeast of the city of Santa Barbara and north of the city of Ojai. It is most easily accessible from two trailheads off State Route 33, which runs north from Ojai. It is adjacent to the large San Rafael Wilderness on the west and the Matilija Wilderness on the south. Across Highway 33 to the east, and also in the Los Padres National Forest, is the large Sespe Wilderness.
Cuchara is an unincorporated community in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. It is located near a former ski resort in the mountains south of the town of La Veta. Its altitude is 8,468 feet (2,581 m). State Highway 12 travels through Cuchara as it approaches Trinidad to the southeast.
Huerfano Butte is a volcanic plug or hypabyssal plug located 8.8 miles (14.1 km) north of Walsenburg in Huerfano County, Colorado, United States. Named Huerfano by early Spanish explorers, it rises above the south side of the Huerfano River with its peak about 200 feet above the floodplain.
Tom Sharp, a former Confederate soldier and explorer, operated a trading post on the Taos Trail and founded the now extinct town of Malachite, Colorado. It was located on the Huerfano River in Huerfano County, Colorado. He became a nationally known horse and cattle breeder.