Las Animas County, Colorado Area Photos and Information
Las Animas County is located in southern Colorado bordering the State of New Mexico. Trinidad, the county seat, sits about 20 minutes north of the state line along Interstate 25. It's a very beautiful town filled with historical buildings lining its welcoming streets. The population of the county is about 15,000.
It's within a few hours of Denver, Colorado Springs, Santa Fe and Taos. The major economy is ranching, farming, coal mining, transportation, railroading, and natural gas.
It is a semi-arid climate with hot summers and cold winters. Summer days are hot with cooler nights. Winters are cold but not as cold as the mountain towns. The average annual rainfall is 15 inches and the average snowfall is 42 inches.
There are many recreational opportunities such as hunting, wildlife watching, 4-wheeling, hiking, camping, golfing, and fishing.
Trinidad Lake State Park and other alpine lakes are west by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
East of Trinidad, the Comanche National Grasslands covers over 435,000 acres. Once home to the dinosaurs, the Comanche Indians and the Santa Fe Trail, it has been managed by the US Forest Service since 1954. Dinosaur tracks, 257 bird species, and abundant wildlife can be seen along scenic drives or the trails. The Picketwire Canyon trail boasts the Purgatoire River dinosaur track-site, the largest assemblage of dinosaur track-ways in North America.
The Historic Santa Fe Trail was one of America's great trading routes for early settlers going out west as well as traders. It stretches for 1,200 miles from Franklin, Missouri, to Santa Fe, New Mexico. It followed several different paths depending on weather conditions and terrain from 1821 until 1880, creating an avenue of commercial and cultural exchange. Timpas Creek was the first source of water for Santa Fe Trail travelers after leaving the Arkansas River heading SW. Between 1869 and 1871 the Metcalf Ranch, previously located here, served as a stage coach station. There is a 1/2 mile loop nature trail to Timpas Creek and back with stone markers where the Santa Fe National Historic Trail passes through the area.
Its famous for its dinosaur bones. The Picketwire Canyon trail boasts the Purgatoire River dinosaur track-site, the largest assemblage of dinosaur track-ways in North America, which you can hike along for a long stretch of the trail.
Across the valley to the west are big mountain views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains! The Spanish Peaks, a sub range within the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. rise to 13,123 feet and can be seen across the National Grasslands for over 100 miles where the Rockies meet the Great Prairies!
In the 2011 Colorado Division of Wildlife Southeast Colorado Hunting Guide listed the following: the BEST DEER AREAS: Black Hills, Bear Springs Hills, in the piñon and juniper areas, along the Hogback and in any of the side canyons that lead to the Purgatoire River. I studied the guide and it says that unit 142 is within the military base and I believe that this sits in unit 135. Click Here
to read the Hunting Guide.
It's home of the Fort Carson Military Base aka the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site, a 235,896 acre training site. My Great Uncle, Dean DeWitt Larson, took his flight training course at La Junta Army Air Field. His plane crashed on a mission in the Philippines in March 1945. His brother, Donald Lyle Larson, had died 6 months previous. He was a POW on a Japanese boat that was thought by the Americans to have 750 troops on board. They did not know it was 750 American troop POWs and the ship was destroyed. These were my grandmothers brothers and there is one remaining sibling today. I visit their graves every other year when I visit the family home in Kansas. It sure made me smile when I read that Dean had been in La Junta! A big thank you to all our servicemen! In my family it’s not forgotten!