Huerfano County, Colorado: Services and Sites


Established in 1861, Huerfano County is one of the original seventeen counties in Colorado. The county’s name means “orphan” in Spanish and is derived from the distinctive Huerfano Butte, which served as a landmark for early settlers traversing the region. The county is considered Spanish Peaks Country.


  • Huerfano County, one of Colorado's original counties, was established in 1861.
  • The county's name is derived from the Huerfano Butte, a landmark for early settlers.
  • Huerfano County offers a diverse range of services and attractions, from property and tax information to outdoor activities and cultural sites.

Huerfano County Overview

Huerfano County is located in southeastern Colorado and bordered by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the west and the Spanish Peaks to the south. The county encompasses an area of 1,593 square miles and has a population of approximately 6,500 residents. The diverse landscape features sprawling grasslands, rugged foothills, and majestic mountain ranges.

Cities and Towns in Huerfano County


Walsenburg, the county seat and most populous municipality in Huerfano County, was originally settled in 1859 under the name La Plaza de los Leones. The city is known for its rich history, including its role in the Colorado Coalfield War of 1913-1914 and the famous gunman Robert Ford’s saloon and gambling house.

La Veta

La Veta, located in the western part of Huerfano County, is a charming town nestled at the base of the Spanish Peaks and along the Scenic Highway of Legends. The town is known for its vibrant arts community, historic architecture, and proximity to outdoor recreational opportunities.


Gardner, a small unincorporated community in the northern part of Huerfano County, is situated along the Huerfano River. The town is surrounded by scenic beauty and is a popular destination for fishing, hiking, and camping enthusiasts.

Government and Public Services

Huerfano County is governed by a board of three commissioners, each representing a district within the county. The county government provides a range of services to its residents. For example, it has an Assessor’s Office responsible for valuing and classifying all taxable property within the county. It also has a Clerk & Recorder who maintains records of property transactions, issues marriage licenses, and oversees elections. Finally, the Huerfano County Judicial Branch houses the county court, district court, and related legal services.

Economic Landscape

Agriculture and ranching have long been the backbone of Huerfano County’s economy, with the region known for its cattle and hay production. In recent years, tourism has emerged as a significant contributor to the local economy, with visitors drawn to the county’s natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and cultural attractions.

Education and Community Resources

Huerfano County is served by the Huerfano School District Re-1, which operates several schools in Walsenburg and La Veta. The county also has a public library system with branches in Walsenburg and La Veta. The libraries offer a variety of resources and programs for the community.

Tourism and Outdoor Activities

As part of the Spanish Peaks Country, Huerfano County offers a wealth of natural attractions and outdoor recreational opportunities. Visitors can explore the majestic Spanish Peaks, hike in the surrounding foothills, or fish in the Huerfano River. The Lathrop State Park, located near Walsenburg, features camping, boating, and hiking trails.

Cultural and Historical Sites

The Walsenburg Mining Museum showcases the county’s rich mining history, with exhibits on the Colorado Coalfield War and the region’s coal mining heritage. The La Veta Mercantile, a historic building dating back to the late 1800s, now serves as a cultural center hosting art exhibitions, concerts, and community events.

Infrastructure and Transportation

Huerfano County is served by several major highways, including Interstate 25, U.S. Route 160, and Colorado State Highway 10. The county also has a small airport, Cuchara Valley Airport, located near La Veta.


What is the significance of Huerfano Butte?

Huerfano Butte is a distinctive landmark that served as a reference point for early settlers traveling through the region. The butte’s name, meaning “orphan” in Spanish, inspired the naming of Huerfano County.

How can I access property valuation information in Huerfano County?

Property valuation information can be obtained through the Huerfano County Assessor’s Office, which is responsible for valuing and classifying all taxable property within the county.

What are the major tourist attractions in Huerfano County?

Huerfano County offers a variety of tourist attractions, including the Spanish Peaks, Lathrop State Park, the Walsenburg Mining Museum, and the La Veta Mercantile Cultural Center.

Where can I find information about local events and festivals?

Information about local events and festivals can be found through the Huerfano County Chamber of Commerce as well as the websites and social media pages of individual cities and towns within the county.

How does Huerfano County support its local businesses?

Huerfano County supports local businesses through various economic development initiatives, including partnerships with the Huerfano County Economic Development Commission and the Spanish Peaks Business Alliance.


About the author

James Ranson

I’m an editor, traveler, and fan of the great outdoors. I’ve been to all 48 continental US states, and my drives through Colorado’s rugged peaks and snowy forests (not to mention whiskey tastings in Denver!) still stand out in my memories. I’m excited to use my ten years of editing experience to develop engaging and informative guides and articles that enhance the outdoor experiences of both Colorado residents and visitors. Whether a piece is about exploring the best ski resorts, uncovering scenic trails for hiking, or finding the most inspiring drives through the Colorado Rockies, my aim is to provide comprehensive and accessible content that encourages adventure and exploration.