Artistic Bent in Trinidad, Colorado

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Mitchell painting, "Covered"

Covered

From a hike up an ancient volcano to a stroll past a world-class skate park, expect the unexpected when you visit Trinidad, Colo., a town of 9,000 people on the edge of Colorado’s border with New Mexico.

Once a stop on the Old Santa Fe Trail and later a mining community, Trinidad's historical buildings are worth seeing. Hop on the free Trinidad Trolley and get off at the Trinidad History Museum complex to see the Santa Fe Trail Museum, the 1882 Bloom Mansion and Kit Carson’s buckskin coat.

“It’s the coolest thing ever,” says Marty Hackett, Colorado Welcome Center and tourism manager, referring to Carsons’ coat. “It’s for real. It’s an old trapper’s coat with beautiful Indian beadwork.”

Take a short walk down the block where the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art showcases the town’s most famous artistic character, Arthur Roy Mitchell, who was a prolific painter of Western pulp magazine covers. Known by locals as “The Mitch,” its housed in a former department store built in 1906. The museum showcases one of the town’s most famous characters: Arthur Roy Mitchell. Born in 1889, Mitchell sketched scenes of cowboy life as a young ranch hand, eventually becoming a prolific painter of Western pulp magazine covers. See his fantastically colorful work, early Hispanic folk art, photography and Old West artifacts.

In the Corazon de Trinidad Historic District, you’ll find 55 of great examples of late Victorian commercial architecture in Colorado, housing eclectic locally owned shops, galleries, and restaurants, including Sita’s Kitchen, a delicious vegan bakery serving breakfast and lunch.

Then head east to the Comanche National Grasslands where 150 million years ago dinosaurs roamed in a tropical forest that lined a lake and left 1,300 visible tracks behind. It’s one of the longest dinosaur track site in North America. Farther south you can hike along the rim of an extinct volcano at Capulin Volcano National Monument. Drive west to travel the 82-mile Scenic Highway of Legends that circles the Spanish Peaks, crossing the 11,248-foot Cordova Pass, or get outside at Trinidad Lake State Park. 

In addition, Trinidad holds bragging rights to one of the country’s best skate parks, a 14,000-foot slice of paradise for skateboarding fanatics.

Capulin Volcano National Monument near the Colorado-New Mexico border.

Capulin Volcano National Monument near the Colorado-New Mexico border. 

Explore the outdoors at Trinidad Lake State Park, which has 10 miles of hiking trails and two campgrounds. Or hike along the rim of an extinct volcano at Capulin Volcano National Monument 53 miles away.

For more information:

Colorado Welcome Center
309 Nevada Ave, Trinidad, CO
www.historictrinidad.com

A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art
www.armitchellmuseum.com

Santa Fe Trail Museum
www.santafetrailscenicandhistoricbyway.org/thistmus.html

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