Roughly three hours south of Denver is the southern Colorado town, Trinidad. Resting in the shadows of its iconic landmark, Fishers Peak, Trinidad also offers an eclectic downtown filled with shops, restaurants, and art galleries.
Combined with its two state parks and its location along one of Colorado’s most scenic byways, Trinidad is a top destination for many travelers. Start planning your trip today with these things to do in Trinidad.
No matter what time of year there is always something to do in Trinidad. From the historical downtown to a stunning scenic byway, find your perfect getaway with these year-round activities in Trinidad.
Trinidad History Museum
With a sizeable property encompassing two historic houses, beautiful gardens, and a separate museum dedicated to the Santa Fe Trail, the Trinidad History Museum is the premier place in and around Trinidad to learn about the area’s rich history and culture.
Visitors of all types can enjoy the beautiful architecture of the Victorian-style Bloom Mansion and the Adobe Baca House, and on a warm day, the Baca-Bloom Heritage Gardens are a great way to get a sense of some of the region’s native flowers and cacti.
One of the most popular exhibits at the museum is the Santa Fe Trail Museum. This historical and entertaining exhibit displays a number of artifacts from around the start of the twentieth century including a beautiful and decorative buckskin coat.
Taking a walk through Trinidad’s historic downtown district is one of the best ways to experience this southern Colorado town. With many of the streets paved with bricks and an assortment of beautiful and diverse architecture lining Main Street, Trinidad’s rich history is made clear when visiting downtown.
Many of the town’s best attractions are located downtown, so visitors can easily walk between them. For example, it’s a short walk from the Trinidad History Museum to the Mitchell Museum of Western Art, and there’s a number of inviting stores between them.
Besides museums, Main Street in Trinidad, Colorado is lined with an assortment of local restaurants, bars, and coffee houses, and there’s a decent number of thrift stores, general stores, and even outdoors stores in the main historic downtown.
Mitchell Museum of Western Art
Primarily featuring the art of Arthur Roy Mitchell, an artist who garnered popularity in the 1920s through 1940s for his Western magazine covers, the Mitchell Museum of Western Art is one of the best stops in the area for learning about Western art.
Most of his paintings feature traditional western scenes including, subjects like cowboys, wide-open landscapes, and horses. Interestingly, besides painting these scenes, A.R. Mitchell was a cowboy himself, and his real-life experience grants his art a clear authority.
Although the museum is named for Mitchell and features the world’s largest collection of his art, the Mitchell Museum of Western Art also showcases the art of some of his contemporaries as well as a collection of Native American artifacts gathered by Mitchell himself during his lifetime including pottery, clothing, and more. Admission to the museum is free, but visitors should keep in mind that it is closed on Sunday.
Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum
Set in the Samuel Freudenthal Memorial Library on the Trinidad State College Campus, the Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum grants visitors a look at the interesting geological and archaeological history of the area. A number of exhibits are dedicated to the early geology of southern Colorado, and there’s also a significant number of plant and animal fossils on display to be seen.
Children visiting the museum will love the dinosaur track exhibit and the model T-Rex skeleton at the entrance to the museum. Finally, the Louden-Henritze Archaeology Museum collection includes artifacts from the prehistoric people that lived in this area of the United States thousands of years ago. There are exhibits about these people’s complex culture, food, and even tools.
Highway of Legends Byway
When traveling from Walsenburg to Trinidad, abandoning I-25 in favor of the Highway of Legends Byway, an 82-mile route that passes through some of the area’s greatest attractions, is a great way to spend a few hours. Although the route is considerably longer and more meandering than the interstate it is a worthy detour to experience the intense natural beauty and history of southern Colorado.
Leaving from Walsenburg on U.S. Highway 160, Lathrop State Park is a good first stop. Past La Veta, Colorado, visitors can stop to see the Devil’s Stairsteps, a huge spine of rock that often features Golden Eagles. Closer to Trinidad on Highway 12, be sure to check out Cokedale and the old Coke Ovens where coal from the nearby mines was smelted in the past.
Visitors should expect to take approximately two hours to drive the byway, but this could easily be extended by stopping at any number of great stops along the way.
Trinidad in the summer can be hot. Luckily there are plenty of ways to stay cool and experience some of Colorado’s best attractions. Discover these summer activities in Trinidad for fun in the sun.
Trinidad Lake State Park
Located close to town, Trinidad Lake State Park is a great stop on any trip near Trinidad. The primary draw of the park is the beautiful lake, and on summer days locals and tourists flock to the park for water sports and fishing.
Anglers can catch rainbow trout, brown trout, bass, and more. Motorboats and jetskis are permitted on the lake during the summer months, and there is a boat ramp and docks to make putting in seamless.
Additionally, Trinidad Lake State Park features 73 campsites. These sites have electric hookups, and seven sites feature full hookups. Sites must be reserved in advance.
Other activities include hiking on the park’s ten miles of trails, biking on the eight miles of biking trails, and even horseback riding and enjoying the park’s volleyball courts.
Fishers Peak State Park
One of Colorado’s newest state parks, Fishers Peak State Park is a beautiful area composed of the almost twenty thousand acres that surround Fishers Peak, the 9,633-foot peak that the park is named for.
One of the most popular hikes in the park is the First Look Trail. This short, quarter-mile trail brings hikers within view of the awesome Fishers Peak. After this short walk, visitors can enjoy a picnic at the park’s drive-in picnic area. Or challenge yourself on the 3-mile Challenge Trail that provides incredible views of Fishers Peak.
Icon Sign at Simpson’s Rest
Visible from almost anywhere in Trinidad, Simpson’s Rest is the large Sandstone Bluff that rises north of town. Named for George S. Simpson, a frontiersman who helped settle Trinidad in the mid-nineteenth century, Simpson’s Rest is one of the most iconic spots in Trinidad.
Today, Simpson’s Rest is a city park, and no trip to Trinidad is complete without a drive to the top of this sandstone cliff. The road is not in great condition, but the views from the top of Trinidad and the surrounding area make it worth the trouble.
Like a small-town Hollywood Sign, Simpson’s Rest and its iconic Trinidad Sign is a must-see stop in Southern Colorado.
Trinidad Trolley Bus
One of the best activities on a nice summer day in Trinidad is to take the free trolley bus around town. These trolleys take riders on a 45-minute tour of the town including stops and information about the Trinidad History Museum, the local archaeology museum, and much more. Although this tour is not too long, it’s free, so it’s the perfect way to see Trinidad or just to escape the heat on a hot summer day.