At the crossroad of the Highway of Legends, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and the Spanish Peaks in Huerfano County,, travelers can find Walsenburg. This city, known as the Heart of Spanish Peaks Country and “A great place to be! Welcome!”, perfectly encapsulates the vastness of the Colorado prairie while hosting the easternmost peak above 13,000 feet in the United States.
Walsenburg is a historic southern front range community with plenty to offer the recreation seeker. It’s the northern most town on the Highway of Legends, a national scenic byway. There’s also good-sized downtown, with a lot of historic buildings. Average climate swings from cold and snowy in the winters, to warm balmy summers.
It’s the Huerfano County seat and its most populated city, with 3,068 people in 2010. The elevation is 6,171 feet. Walsenburg’s small town charm attracts multitudes of tourists every year. It’s rich in history and natural wonders. This is an ideal escape for travelers who want an easy drive south on Interstate-25 from the big cities.
Fred Walsen settled nearby in 1870 and soon opened a mercantile. The town grew and Walsen assisted in the incorporation of the town on June 16, 1873, so they honored him by calling it Walsenburg.
Coal mining began in the region in 1876 and lasted more than 100 years. An estimated 500 million tons of coal was mined before operations ceased. Walsenburg also had an infamous past mentioned in the Woody Guthrie song Ludlow Massacre. You can visit the memorial site in the ghost town of Ludlow, almost thirty minutes south on I-25.
These incidents involved a political bout between the miners and the armed camped guards at the Fuel & Iron company. It was recorded as one of the deadliest encounters in the town’s history. This 1914 event was known as the “Ten Days War”, and left an estimated 21 dead. However, as Colorado’s urbanization progressed over the past century, the town has grown from its gruesome past to a warm, welcoming tourism spot.
Highway of Legends – This national scenic byway features 82 stunning miles of grand scenery, with two mountain passes and lots to do and see. There are gripping folk tales in town that give you a peek at what life was like in the Old West. You can listen to these tales at the Huerfano Tourism Board’s Highway of Legends Audio Tour. Download the TravelStorys app on the App Store or the Google Play Store.
Lathrop State Park – Lathrop is Colorado’s first state park, situated two miles west of downtown. It offers more than 1,600 acres and two big lakes.
Walsenburg Wild Waters – This exciting seasonal water park is fun for everyone in the family. They have 12-foot deep diving wells, a green slide, a seal slide, and many more family-friendly activities.
Read about the Top 3 Cool Hotels in Walsenburg.
La Plaza Inn – Located in downtown, this historic hotel makes a great basecamp for exploring the nearby Spanish Peaks Country.
The other exciting highlight of the town is its local restaurants. Find your favorite American franchises as well as generational recipes that bring you that memorable taste you can only get in Walsenburg.
Serendipity – This is a favorite dessert and cafe boutique restaurant. They offer local brew coffee, freshly baked pastries, and tea. They also have a heartwarming breakfast menu. Visit them at
George’s Drive Inn – Enjoy a full meal at this town favorite diner. They have a breakfast and lunch menu. If you love spicy foods, order the popular Chili Burger.
Activities near Walsenburg
- Greenhorn Mountain Wilderness Area
- Great Sand Dunes National Park (76mi)
- San Isabel National Forest
- Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area
- Aguilar (18mi)
- Colorado City (25mi)
- Cuchara (27mi)
- La Junta (73mi)
- La Veta (16mi)
- Ludlow (24mi)
- Pueblo (48mi)
- Trinidad (37mi)
Visit the official town website.