Putt-putt

The  Cuchara Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes the Cuchara area,  provided Huerfano County in 2017 with the money to purchase 47 acres at the base of the former Cuchara Mountain Resort for use as a public mountain park.

Now called Cuchara Mountain Park, efforts began immediately to refurbish existing structures at the site, and a detailed plan was created with the help of SE Consulting Group and Huerfano County to establish goals and phases of development. Currently trails are being cleared, and it is hoped a slope will open for snow sports.

Just a short drive off Highway 12 at 1234 Panadero Avenue, many day-trippers may be unaware the park has reopened and is ready for exploration. With aspen leaves showing their fall colors, to the option of visiting the park to hike the trails and try the its other outdoor amenities--such as disc golf and mini-golf—could be a day trip about an hours drive from Trinidad. One may have to bring personal discs or clubs, said Lois Adams, Cuchara Mountain Park committee member.

The park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. But visitors should take note.

“We open the day lodge--where we have disc golf discs and also clubs and balls for mini golf, based on our volunteer help to man the lodge,” Adams said. “Unfortunately we haven’t been getting too many volunteers, so we can’t open it as much as we’d like though occasionally it’s open on the weekend. But the park itself is useable any time.”

Adams also explained the day lodge at Cuchara Mountain Park is available for special events, should anyone want to hold a family reunion, wedding, or the like.

“The day lodge is also available to rent for $300 per day,” said Adams, “and there’s a deck and cozy place for a fire during the winter months. The two big buildings at the base of Cuchara Mountain Park are privately owned by Chris Smith and Donna Vantreese and serve as a conference center but are separate from Cuchara Mountain Park. They’ve already had several weddings there. It’s a great place for events, as well and people can find more information on that by visiting their Facebook page, Cuchara Mountain Adventure.”

Teams from the county and other volunteers are also working to expand the trail systems throughout the park, which has piqued the interest of the U.S. Forest Service.

“We’re working with the U.S. Forest Service because they want to have access to their trails through the park,” Adams said, “and we hope, eventually, we’ll be able to have more mountain biking running throughout as well. We’re also currently working on a GOCO grant for 250,000 putting in mostly for park structures like toilets and picnic area, as well as a challenge course and a natural playground.”

As the weather begins to change and temperatures drop, the Cuchara Mountain Park is also focusing on what can be done to keep activities going throughout the winter.

“We’re determined to figure out some way to get people up the hill for sledding and light skiing,” Adams said. “Park workers are working on fixing up Lift 4, and they’ve had it actually moving, but it needs attention and it’s going to cost a lot of money and then they have to get it approved.

“But regardless, the park is still useable during winter for sledding and things like that. and if we make any progress on finding a way to transport skiers up the hill, we’ll definitely let everyone know on our Facebook page and website.”

For more information about the park or to get involved as a volunteer, visit the park’s website at thecucharamountainpark.org.

Hidden mountain gem just a day trip away for easy access adventure

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