What makes Trinidad-Las Animas County so appealing? Why is it a great place to for entrepreneurs and forward thinkers?
Great weather, growing businesses related to creative industries, agriculture, energy, recreation and tourism are what make Las Animas County attractive. With a growing Front Range population, southern Colorado becomes attractive to those seeking an affordable cost of living, while also giving entrepreneurs and employers an alternative place to grow their businesses.
After years of economic decline and outward population migration, many realize the area’s potential as the next great place live, work, and play in Colorado. Trinidad-Las Animas County is at a crossroads in its history, where the horizon is filled with positive and vibrant possibilities. New businesses are setting up shop and tourism is attracting people to explore its storied heritage and past. More advantages include soon to be improved healthcare offerings, and the prospect of a more robuust open space and mountain park system.
- El Corazon de Trinidad Creative Arts District
- Trinidad Industrial Park
- Farm & Land
- Purgatoire River
- Scenic Byway - Highway of Legends
- Scenic Byway - Santa Fe Trail
- Trinidad Triggers Baseball Club
El Corazon Creative Arts District
In 2013, the historic Corazón de Trinidad was certified as a Creative District by Colorado Creative Industries, a designation that provides a platform of support for individual creative artists, entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as local government. In 2015, Trinidad was selected as the first city in the state's Space to Create Colorado initiative, which aims to make it easier -- and cheaper -- for artists and entrepreneurs to open creative studios and businesses in Trinidad.
What is attracting a new generation of artists and creatives to Trinidad is affordability and accessibility. Currently there are 100 or so artists who live and work here full-time, many of whom have fled rising costs in more established and gentrified "art" cities, including Denver. With a connected world of online galleries, publishing houses and media platforms, the possibility of showing and selling work to anyone in the world is a 21st century reality.
Trinidad Industrial Park
The Trinidad Industrial Park is a prime 400 acre parcel of developed and developable land located just north of the city. It is bordered on the west by Interstate 25, along the south by State Highway 239, and on the north by El Moro Road. Two interstate exits Park, Exit 15 at Goddard Avenue, and Exit 18 at El Moro Road.
The Park was planned to utilize the cluster approach for industrial and business sitting. The idea is to cluster compatible businesses together around a central access and circular plaza, with industrial sites available around the plaza area. Lot sizes range from three acres on up, with much larger tracts situated in the Park.
In most instances, main utility lines are near each site, with utility feeder lines required to individual building sites. Transportation facilities are excellent. Interstate 25 is visible from most building lots. The Burlington Northern Railroad main north-south line travels through the heart of the Park. Santa Fe Railroad services is available within a few blocks of the south entrance to the Trinidad Industrial Park.
Farm & Land
The mostly rural Las Animas County still relies heavily on farming and ranching as its main economic engine. Rural living is increasingly appealing to many, even drawing newcomers to the county in recent years. Add food production and consumption trends of recent years, which has shifted towards local community supported agriculture models, and the area's farming and ranching heritage provides a basis for attracting new residents and businesses to Las Animas County.
In 2012, Las Animas County had 2,140,776 acres of agricultural land. There are 602 farms, with an average of 3,556 acres. According to the 2012 Agricultural Census, Las Animas County’s largest crop harvested is forage and top livestock is cattle and calves.
With an aging farming and ranching population, an opportunity to attract a new generation has presented itself. Food media has identified a growing audience consisting of a community that cares passionately about the food on their tables: farmers, entrepreneurs, and responsible consumers who are conscientious about what they eat and who want a more sustainable planet for themselves and their children.
- Male/Female: 40% / 60%
- Young: Primarily between 25-54 years, with a median age of 49
- Educated: 74% college graduates, and 34% have a post graduate degree
- Affluent - Median HHI $88,700
- Family Oriented: 74% are married, and 36% have children in the household
- Active: 50% farm as their primary business, and 37% farm as a side business
In recent years, state agricultural producer groups have sought to increase brand awareness and sales of a wide range of Colorado products. These efforts appear to be successful as awareness and trial of branded products are high among Coloradans. This means Las Animas County is positioned to increase its share of Colorado agricultural products and continue to build upon its farming and ranching heritage, while also cultivating a local modern food movement.
The Purgatoire River Watershed stretches from the New Mexico border northeast to the town of Las Animas, Colorado. Originating in the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Purgatoire River traverses 196 miles before it drains into the Arkansas River. The total area of the Purgatoire River Basin is 2,206,204 acres. The elevation of the Watershed averages 6,008 feet above sea level, with a maximum elevation of 13,962 feet and a minimum elevation of 4,321 feet.
River flows in the Purgatoire River are highly variable depending on the season and the location. Snowmelt from the headwaters largely contributes to the water supply in the basin area. The Trinidad Dam at Trinidad Lake State Park controls much of the river flows and therefore the flow regimes in the river are substantially different between the upstream and downstream reaches of the Dam. The Dam is used for both storage of irrigation water and flood control. The outlet gates at the Dam are shut outside of the irrigation season for storage, generally between mid-October and mid-April. Average flows into the reservoir are highest during the spring snowmelt runoff months of May and June. Major flooding also occurs during spring runoff when rapidly melting snow is augmented by rain or during summer torrential thunderstorms. The average annual precipitation in the Purgatoire Watershed ranges from 43 inches per year at the headwaters to 13 inches per year at the lower end of the Watershed.
Today, the Purgatoire River serves an important role in the community. It is an economic and recreational resource for businesses in the region’s growing agricultural, outdoor recreation, and tourism industries.
Citizen Groups Involved in Watershed
Purgatoire Watershed Partnership
The Purgatoire Watershed Partnership is comprised of diverse stakeholders, coming together to form a cooperative partnership focused on the conservation, protection, and enhancement of the Purgatoire Watershed. As the group continues to grow, it is important that no local stakeholders are excluded, and that they hear as many of the voices in the watershed as possible.
Their mission is to proactively acquire and maintain a watershed-wide stakeholder partnership aimed at assessment, restoration, protection, and improvement of all aspects regarding the Purgatoire River watershed.
Stream Flow Data
- Purgatoire River at Madrid, CO
- Purgatoire River below Trinidad Lake, CO
- Van Bremer Arroyo near Model, CO
- Purgatoire River near Thatcher, CO
- Taylor Arroyo Black Rock Crossing near Thatcher, CO
- Lockwood Canyon Creek near Thatcher, CO
- Red Rock Canyon Creek at mouth near Thatcher, CO
- Bent Canyon Creek at mouth near Timpas, CO
- Purgatoire River at Rock Crossing near Timpas, CO
- Watershed Quality Assessment Report
Scenic Byway - Santa Fe Trail
On a clear spring day, a sharp observer can still discern the wagon-wheel ruts of the Santa Fe Trail wending their way across the prairie. The cultural legacies of this historic trade route, which saw its heaviest use between the 1820s and 1870s, remain just as distinct.
The byway, which comprises a 188-mile portion of the trail, traverses one of the last strongholds of the nomadic Plains Indians and one of the first toeholds of Anglo-American pioneers, who began homesteading along the Arkansas River in the 1860s.
The Mountain Branch of the trail traveled through what is today Trinidad and crossed Raton Pass, a mountain gap used by Native Americans for centuries. The byway’s midpoint is Bent's Old Fort, once a trading post and cultural melting pot, now a National Historic Site.
The Santa Fe Trail was designated by the U.S. secretary of transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 1998.
Scenic Byway - Highway of Legends
Did George Simpson really save Trinidad from marauding Utes by distracting them with taunts? Where is the lost gold vein that supposedly offered nuggets so rich a 19th-century prospector could live off one for a full year? And what fate befell Juan Humana and his band of conquistadors, who disappeared near the Purgatoire River in 1594 and were never again seen alive?
You may not find the answers on the Highway of Legends, but you will enjoy the dramatic settings that have inspired tall tales among Native American nomads, Spanish explorers, and Anglo and Hispanic settlers for hundreds of years. From the impenetrable heights of the Sangre de Cristos and Spanish Peaks to the ominous redrock abutments of the Dakota Wall and the Devil's Stairsteps, this land is truly larger than life.
An extension was recently added to the byway from the town of Aguilar on I-25 west over the 11,248-foot Cordova Pass, reconnecting to Colorado Highway 12 at Cuchara Pass. The 35-mile extension follows Huerfano/Las Animas County Road No. 46 through the San Isabel National Forest.
Trinidad Triggers Baseball Club
The Trinidad Triggers are a professional baseball team based in Trinidad, Colorado. The team is a member of the Pecos League, an independent baseball league which is not affiliated with Major or Minor League Baseball. The team plays its home games at Trinidad Central Park and began operations for the 2012 season. In their short existence, the team has become a community force despite being in one of the country’s smallest pro baseball markets.
The team, which like all Pecos franchises, is owned by the league. However it does receive some financial support from the City of Trinidad by way of the parks department, which spent about $25,000 on ballpark improvements over the past two years at the field it owns.
Trinidad Central Park Statistics
- Built: 1907
- Capacity: 1,000
- Address: 700 Smith Street
- Dimensions: 360 feet to left; 385 feet to center; 350 feet to right
- Admission: $6 general admission, $4 students/seniors/veterans, $2 kids 12 and under