Explore the backcountry, ride the rails, visit missions and museums.
Get away from it all and explore the backcountry of Colorado! How about taking a ride on the longest and highest scenic, narrow gauge steam railroad in the county? Perhaps you’re on the trail of early Catholic missions or off-the-beaten-track museums or historic sites. Along your way you’ll see many painted silos. Come explore Conejos County!
67% of the land is designated as Public Land making recreation possibilities endless. The Rio Grande National Forest and Bureau of Land Management offer hundreds of miles of accessible hiking trails for all levels of enthusiasts. Fishing is very popular and with the vast territory you can claim your own piece of lake or stream. If you don’t want to go it alone, there are many guides and outfitters. Fish species include, Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye, and Salmon.
7 State Wildlife Areas are open in Conejos County
Visit the Colorado State Wildlife Site for details: Click on map, select Conejos County at the bottom near the middle. Select one of the 7 State Wildlife Areas for detailed information on wildlife viewing, fishing, and hunting. You’ll also find directions and interactive maps.
The South San Juan Wilderness in the San Juan National Forest encompasses the eastern extent of the San Juan Mountain Range. You’ll find about 180 miles of trails, and some of the best backpacking and rugged terrain in the state. The Continental Divide crosses the heart of the Wilderness for 42 miles. The South Fork of the Conejos River Trail will lead you to the Conejos Peak Trail, which climbs north to the summit of Conejos Peak and offers a fantastic view into the heart of the area. Many trails don’t have signs so it’s a good idea to take a San Juan Wilderness Trail Map.
Interested in birding? Check out the Colorado Country Birding site for Conejos County for specific directions to birding sites.
2 Scenic Railroads
Two, not just one.
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is America’s longest and highest narrow gauge steam railroad. All aboard! Drift back in time to the days of train travel as America opened the West. Ride 64 miles of breathtaking vistas, tunnels, and gorges over the continental divide and into northern New Mexico.
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad has branch from Antonito to Alamosa traveling through 17 miles of ranch and crop land.
Historic Sites, Catholic Missions and Museums
Lobatos Bridge: The Mondragon family lived next to the bridge where they mined gold & made jewelry. It was the original crossing of Rio Grande in the area. Head west from Antonito on Cty Rd G to cross the bridge built in 1891.
Pike’s Stockade: Captured by Spaniards in the San Luis Valley, US Explorer Zebulon Pike of Pike’s Peak fame, was escorted to Santa Fe, New Mexico and out of the region! Visit the recreated Pike’s Stockade outside of La Jara.
Catholic Parish: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church is the oldest parish in Colorado. Turn west on Cty Rd 13 just north of Antonito.
Jack Dempsey: “The Manassa Mauler” was the world’s heavyweight boxing champion from 1919 to 1926. Dempsey was born in the cabins housing the museum.
Conejos Museum: Learn more at the museum provided by the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad.
Sanford Museum: Stop in Manassa and, make sure to check out the museum.
Take the time to experience it all!