of Southern Colorado
Trinidad Colorado, in the southern part of the state is on the Santa Fe Trail, and is the southernmost city of a line of cities that separates the Colorado Rockies and the Great Plains. It is the gateway to the Rockies. To the west is the beautiful Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) Mountain Range. Stretching along the north are the majestic Huajatollas (pronounced wa-ha-toy-yas), also know as the Spanish Peaks. Fisher's Peak, the unusual volcanic landmark with its stair step top, lies to the south, at an altitude of 9,600 feet. El Rio de Las Animas Perdidas en Purgatoire (the river of lost souls in Purgatory), better known as the Purgatoire River, flows through the center of Trinidad.
A large grove of cottonwood trees along the Purgatoire River was a favorite resting place for the weary travelers of the Santa Fe Trail. It was here that they would recover from their difficult journey from Bent's Fort and gather strength for the even more difficult passage of Raton Pass and on into the New Mexico Territory. Today we have Trinidad River walk with interpretive signs along the river offering visitors the same opportunity of rest for the weary.
Trinidad's rich history was molded by the Native Americans, Spaniards, French explorers, scouts, trappers and traders who left evidence of their passing in colorful geographic names. Jewish, Italian, Polish, Slavic, German and Irish families were drawn by the extensive coal mining and the large cattle companies. Railroads followed quickly. Trinidad gained one of the famous Santa Fe "Harvey Houses" and several lavish hotels. Its history includes Bat Masterson, who was marshal in the 1880s. Wyatt Earp drove the stage between Trinidad and Box Springs, New Mexico. Billy the Kid merited mention in the journal of Sister Blandina, one of the earliest Catholic nuns in the territory.
Recreation and culture were centered in the Jaffa Opera House, built in 1888. Included in Trinidad's opulence is the West theater (now the Fox) built in 1908, with a large ballroom and three floors of seating. It is the oldest continuous running movie theater in Colorado and continues its tradition of entertainment today. Central Park's outdoor dance pavilion, amusement park and boating area, and the Kit Carson Park with it's bandstand, Santa Fe Trail Marker and statue of Kit Carson were and still are the hubs of social gatherings. Trinidad is home to the number one nine hole golf course in the state of Colorado. Its beauty is unparalleled. Many tournaments are hosted at our golf course. A skate boarding park is the latest crown jewel of Trinidad.
The wealth of the area is evident in the beautiful sandstone and brick buildings, both downtown and residential. Many of the late 1800 era churches, the Carnegie Public Library, and City Hall were constructed of locally quarried stone. The Temple Aaron, on South Maple Street, is the oldest continuously active Synagogue in the state. Holy Trinity Catholic Church, near the center of the City, is the oldest Catholic church in the area, having been constructed in 1886.
Dust storms and the depression years of the 1930s brought the WPA. They built Memorial Square as a tribute to war veterans, Monument Lake buildings, a zoo and fish hatchery. Round-up Park was also built at that time. The 1940s brought World War II and a German POW camp called Trinidad Camp. The 1950s saw the decline of the mining camps as the mines played out. Morley Camp, south of Trinidad, closed in 1956. The ruins of St. Aloysius Church, on the hill in Morley, is all that is left of what was, in 1908, the most active mine in southern Colorado.
Many changes have come over the years. Trinidad State Nursing Home was built in the 1960s. In the 1970s a new hospital and health department, high school, community center, and rehabilitation center were built. In June of 1977, the Trinidad Dam and Lake project was completed bringing not only flood control, but a beautiful recreation spot to the area. City Hall, gutted by fire in 1981, was reopened in 1982 with a stunning new interior, while at the same time preserving the outside integrity of the historic structure.
The summer of 1983 marked the grand opening of the entirely remodeled Monument Lake Resort, with cabins, a main lodge, gourmet restaurant and full RV hookups. The summer of 1986 saw the official dedication and opening of the US Army Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site east of Trinidad, and the opening of the Colorado Welcome Center, the first such facility in the state. Trinidad has seen the emergence of several fast food restaurants, the Trinidad Plaza shopping area and Super WalMart. Our historic downtown shopping area continues to be revitalized with restored old shops in an old Victorian town atmosphere. Through all the changes, Trinidad remains a friendly, easy going town that welcomes all visitors. It truly is the "Victorian Jewel of Southern Colorado".
Southern Colorado's Trinidad State Junior College has everything you could wish for: programs in 49 academic or vocational areas, a highly-qualified faculty, personalized classes, and a friendly atmosphere where the people really care about you. All this can be yours at a reasonable cost with many financial aid options available. Fully-accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, TSJC offers instruction in liberal arts transfer programs and vocational technical areas. These programs lead to the degrees of Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, Associate of General Studies, Associate of Applied Science and various certificates. The Colorado State Legislature passed an Act in April, 1925, authorizing the establishment of a Junior College in Trinidad. Construction began and the college opened in 1926 with an enrollment of thirty-seven students. Trinidad State Junior College is the oldest public two-year college in Colorado. It is a thriving source of knowledge to those who wish to further their education in Trinidad's quaint and historic environment.
Scenic Highway of Legends, our sister Colorado Scenic Byway, covers more than 80 miles, the drive takes approximately two hours to complete. The route winds along Highway 12 in a circular loop beginning in Trinidad near 1-25 and ending in Walsenburg where it connects back to 1-25. Along the way some of Southern Colorado's most beautiful landscapes, numerous recreational spots, historical structures and geological formations can be seen. Points of interest include: Trinidad Lake State Park, Cokedale, Stonewall, Monument Lake, North Lake, Cuchara Pass, Cuchara and La Veta. A stop at the Colorado Welcome Center before leaving Trinidad will provide maps and brochures about the various sites along the route.
Located off Highway 12 along the Scenic Highway of Legends seven miles west of Trinidad. Cokedale is a wonderful example of an intact coal camp, one of the few that remained standing after mining operations were abandoned. The numbered company houses and old company buildings were once familiar sights throughout Southern Colorado coal camps. To the North of the highway, mountains of black slack dumps can be seen which were created from the accumulations of tailings sent from the mines. To the South of the highway visitors will find curving rows of coke oven ruins which were used to cook coal into coke, a substance used in the production of steel.
Trinidad Skate boarding Park- The newest addition to the Santa Fe Trail Mountain Branch Recreation facilities is a four star skate boarding park. One of gridlines masterpieces, it rips! The main terrain is a snake run that empties into two large bowls. The snake run is a complete "S", with nice transitions and almost too many elements to decide what to hit. A very long spine, humps, a clam shell, flat coping, rolling coping, and nice sloped coping.
It then empties into a large bowl, that has an amazing hump for extra speed. This bowl is connected to an even gnarlier bowl, with some over-vert walls. You get incredible speed out of the snake run. There is minimal street terrain, and some fun humps to pump around the deck. Located just off the Santa Fe Trail near the Trinidad Community Center, it is sure to provide a mountain of fun for extreme skaters.
Take I-25 to Trinidad (14 mi. north of New Mexico)
Use exit 14A (Main St.)
Turn right at Santa Fe Trial (Sonic)
Turn left at Jefferson (Community Center Sign)
Turn right at the bottom of the hill (Community Center Sign)
Stay left approx. 500 ft.
RIDE TILL IT HURTS!!!
The park has been recently completed and is pictured below.