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Directions

This trailhead would be primarily used for access to Trinchera and Cuatro summits, (and also "English Saddle," a high 12er north of Trinchera). From Walsenburg, drive west on US 160 and take the turnoff for La Veta, on SH12. Drive through the quaint, small town and continue south toward Cucharas Pass. This very pleasant road takes you through gambel oak terrain, into ponderosa forest and eventually more typical higher elevation aspen and conifers. If you do road bicycling, this is a great ride! Drive on through the little townsite of Cuchara, past the turnoff for the old Cuchara Valley Ski area and just under 2 miles before reaching the summit of Cucharas Pass, turn west (right) onto FR422 and drive the steep, graded dirt road to the Blue Lakes Campground. There is no sign for this turnoff, but it comes just before the highway makes a sharp left curve. As you drive up FR422, there is no "official" camping but there are some picnic areas. It's about 4 miles to the Blue Lake CG. At the 4-way intersection where you can turn down into the campground, turn left onto FR436. Drive a few yards and find a place to park if in a passenger car. Or, you might inquire with the campground host to see if there's a better parking option.

From Alamosa, drive east on US160 through Ft. Garland and over La Veta Pass. About 15 miles east of the pass, watch for the SH12 turnoff to the town of La Veta. Follow the directions as above.If you have a map, there is a good short-cut option on CR450 that will save several miles of backtracking. 

For another longer but possible access to Trinchera & Cuatro, see the trailhead titled "Mt. Maxwell Trailhead." This access could also be used to reach summits like Mariquita and De Anza B.

If you have 4WD with good clearance, it's possible to drive on up FR436 to timberline or above. It's a slow 2.1 miles to a small but good campsite at the last trees. The road is in worse shape in 2019 than when we last drove it 10 years before. Along the first .4 mile, there are several (4?) designated, primitive, no-fee campsites. The road is slow going up to the "North Fork TH" at 1.3 miles up. There are sharp switchbacks, it's narrow and quite rocky, but we got our Toyota Tundra with a 6.5 ft. bed up it okay. Though rocky, there were no major clearance problems. There are numerous berms as well to divert runoff. The next .8 mile to a couple of campsite locations is less rocky and a little better condition. Beyond treeline it gets quite rough. 


Camping

There are two designated, Forest Service campgrounds; the Blue Lakes and the Bear Lake, just a mile beyond Blue Lakes. Both are accessible by passenger cars. Both have vault toilets but no water. Campground host available at both and firewood for sale. Blue Lake CG has 14 - 16 sites and mostly forested. Bear Lake has 14 sites, some of which are more in open meadow. Just a short distance up FR436 from the Blue Lakes CG, there are 4? primitive spots if the FS has not closed them. Further up FS436, if you have 4WD, there are more primitive sites. See coordinates below. There is not any good level spot to camp at the North Fork TH. 


Campsite Locations

Campsite 1 › N 37° 17' 42.74", W 105° 09' 02.91"
Elevation 11,770 ft. Some slope but you can find a good tent spot.
Campsite 2 › N 37° 17' 40.35", W 105° 09' 06.78"
Elevation 11,835 ft. Small site with parking for one vehicle, or possibly two. last trees.
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