Nestled in the beautiful Purgatoire River Valley at around 6,010 feet in elevation, Trinidad features a large, hilly historic downtown district. It’s one of the most southern Colorado towns on I-25, located thirteen miles north of the New Mexico border.
There’s a lot to see and do around this often-overlooked section of Colorado. Downtown has everything you need in terms of commerce. The picturesque Victorian architecture and red-brick streets are sure to leave a lasting impression.
The population was 8,329 in 2020, making it the largest and liveliest city in Las Animas County. It’s also the county seat. Parties and community gatherings are encouraged in their parks. If you want a more adventurous tour, you can trek the Santa Fe Trail, which overlooks the New Mexico border and the Raton Pass.
Trinidad also has a lot of indoor activities as well as museums that commemorate the drastic transformation the town has undergone over the past decades.
Trinidad was founded in 1862, soon after coal was discovered in the region. A little more than a decade later in 1876, the town was incorporated. When the railroad made it to town in 1878, Trinidad blossomed and by the turn of the 20th century had 7,500 year-round residents.
In the latter half of the twentieth century, Trinidad was coined the “Sex Change Capital of the World”. At its peak, Dr. Stanley Biber performed four sex change operations per day. Visit the Trinidad History Museum in town to learn more about this southern Colorado city and its unique past.
Highway of Legends – Trinidad lies at the southern start of this national scenic byway. It wraps up past historic mining towns like Cokedale, thru Cuchara and La Veta, and finishing in Walsenburg.
Trinidad Lake – This lake lies within a 2,700 acre state park nestled in the foothills west of town. The park features year-round recreation such as camping, fishing, hiking, and seasonal boating.
Trinidad Trolley – From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Trinidad Trolley provides free daily tours of the town from 10 am to 2 pm, every hour. Starting at the Trinidad Welcome Center, you’ll experience a tour of the historic, hilly city from a railroad bus on wheels.
Art Cartopia Museum – This wacky museum serves as a hub for all things artcar. There are over 25 art cars to explore and hands-on activities within the warehouse.
Read about the top things to do in Trinidad.
Camping – Trinidad Lake State Park offers 73 campsites, open year-round. The sites are split between two campgrounds. South Shore offers proximity to the lake, while Carpios Ridge is situated 150 feet above the lake with gorgeous views. They have sites suitable for both tents and RVs.
Read about the camping near Trinidad, Walsenburg, and La Veta.
- Fish the Purgatoire River, which flows by the town.
- Trinidad Lake State Park is another nearby destination for year-round fishing. You’ll need to pay an entry fee to get into the state park and also hold a CO fishing license.
- Read about the lakes and rivers to fish near Trinidad.
- Climax Canyon Nature Trail is an easy trail located about 30 minutes south of town, perfect for beginners and families.
- Spanish Peaks Wildlife Area is the perfect area for birdwatching, located just 40 minutes South of Trinidad.
- Read more about the hiking trails near Walsenburg, La Veta, and Trinidad or hiking trails near Trinidad.
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Tarabino Inn – Situated inside a restored, Old English style home, this stay is great for those looking to connect more with the history of Trinidad. It is also centrally located among some of the locals’ favorite restaurants.
Quality Inn – This comfortable Inn has all of the amenities you could ask for, is pet-friendly, and has spectacular views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Read more about the best hotels in Trinidad.
Trinidad Smokehouse – A cozy BBQ spot serving up brisket, pulled pork, and hearty burgers. They even have a fully stocked bar to hang out at while you wait for your food.
Tees Me Treat Me – The perfect place to stop after you souvenir shop, this casual cafe has a little something for everyone and an outdoor courtyard to enjoy when the weather is nice.
Nana & Nano’s Pasta House – The best spot in town for Italian cuisine, this family owned pasta house has an array of imported goods to shop after you eat.
Feb – Trinidad Polar Plunge – Held annually at the Trinidad Lake State Park, break out your bathing suit and take a freezing dip into the water. The plunge is sponsored by the Special Olympics of Colorado and is open to everyone.
Mar – First Friday Art Nights – Hosted by the Trinidad History Museum on the first Friday of each month, this art-focused evening at the Bloom House is a great way to start the week.
May – Trinidad Farmer’s Market – Make your way over to Cimino Park every Saturday from Memorial Day until September for fresh produce, locally baked goods, and entertainment.
Sep – ArtoCade – “If you can’t drive it, itʼs a float.” September art car festival and parade, featuring art-enhanced cars, bikes, scooters, trikes, golf carts, and other drive-able conveyances. Other events include art exhibitions and competitions.
Sep – Trindiefest – An independent film festival held every September in downtown Trinidad.
Activities near Trinidad
- Comanche National Grassland
- Purgatoire River
- Raton Mesa
- San Isabel National Forest
- South Canadian River
- Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area
- Ludlow (14mi)
- Monument Lake Resort (38mi)
State Wildlife Areas:
- Aguilar (20mi)
- Cokedale (8mi)
- Cuchara (54mi)
- Delhi (44mi)
- Hoehne (11mi)
- La Junta (80mi)
- La Veta (53mi)
- Model (20mi)
- Monument Park (38mi)
- Pueblo (85mi)
- Thatcher (35mi)
- Timpas (62mi)
- Tyrone (26mi)
- Valdez (14mi)
- Walsenburg (37mi)
- Weston (22mi)