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Directions

This trailhead could be primarily used for access to Trinchera and Cuatro summits along with Mt. Maxwell and possibly Mariquita Peak. 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 continue over Cucharas Pass. About 6 miles south of the pass, the highway makes a sharp turn back to the NW to get around North Lake. It then turns back south. After that turn to the south, watch for the turnoff for FR34 to the Purgatoire Campground on your right (west). There are actually two possible turns to this road in case you miss the first. Drive west and NW up the improved, graded dirt road. About .6 mile before the campground, or 3.75 miles from the highway, watch for the turnoff for FR437 to the left. Head up this 4WD road which will become increasingly rocky, but not too difficult. (Last time we were on it was 2004.) The road switchbacks relentlessly for miles to gain elevation. There's a good campsite at about 11,400 feet we estimated and then towards the end of the road, it flattens out some for some other camping possibilities.


Camping

As mentioned above, there's a good at-large spot on the side of FR437 at about 11,400 ft. or higher and then further up where the road levels out around treeline, there's some other possibilities. You can also camp at the Purgatoire Campground, which is a National Forest fee area. There are about two dozen campsites, some in forest and some in open meadow. The sites have tables & fire rings. There are vault toilets and a hand pump for water. This used to be called "The Potato Patch" campground. Campground elevation is 9,800 ft.
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