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Water at the Blue Earth

Saguache County

       Saguache is the northern gateway to the San Luis Valley in South Central Colorado. It sits at an elevation of 7800 feet, surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo mountain range on the east and the San Juan range on the west. Many of the peaks are 14000 feet, a great challenge to climbers. 

    Saguache is a Ute Indian name pronounced Sa-watch.  It means “Water at the Blue Earth.”  It was settled in 1867 by Otto Mears who started his fortune with the first toll road above Poncha Pass.  Otto invested in railroads, mining, the Mack Truck Co. and is credited with the famous "Million Dollar Highway”. 

    Ranching is the main occupation in this part of the Valley.  Both cattle and sheep are raised, cattle being predominant. Some logging is done on Forest Service land. More farming is done as you move down the Valley. Crops include potatoes, lettuce and barley.

    Monte Vista is 35 miles south with a population of 3,000. Alamosa, 50 miles south, has a population of 10,000 and Salida, 45 miles north, has a population of 4,000. Both Alamosa and Salida have full service medical facilities.  Most of the smaller communities have their own ambulance and EMTs. 

    The courthouse and sheriffs department are in Saguache, as is Mountain Valley Schools, elementary and high schools with bus service to outlying areas. 

    Artists and craft people are numerous in the area. Potters, authors, photographers, weavers,  basket makers, and painters are but a few who live in the county. 


    Saguache has sufficient business to provide grocery shopping, dining out, a weekly newspaper and a movie theater. Basics such as laundromats, auto mechanics, service station, hair salons and clinic are available. 

    The Saguache County Museum is a pioneer museum with historic displays depicting the lifestyle of the area.  The museum has seven rooms plus a 1908 jail which was used for 50 years.  Alferd Packer, "The Maneater" had a private cell in the jail. The annual opening of the Saguache County Museum is on Memorial Day with a parade, bar-b-cue and artists in the park. The museum is open from Memorial Day through the Handmade Tour in September. A tour of the museum is historic, nostalgic and educational.  Visit their facebook page click here!

Monarch and Wolf Creek ski areas provide convenient skiing in the winter. 

Festivals take place in the County in both Summer and Winter months. The Crestone Music Festival in August, the Fall festival in September in Saguache and the Winterfest in Crestone through the Thanksgiving weekend.

  Climate in summer is ideal, with days 70 to 75 degrees.  Evenings and nights are always cool.  Humidity is very low.  Winters can be severe, but seldom are.  There has been light snowfall for the past seven years.  It is windy at times.  Some say the wind stops blowing when the snow goes off the Cristos. Others say the snow never leaves the Cristos.

Saguache county has claimed "We've got Plenty of Nothing." And in this there is truth, but what a vast and beautiful world exists in the space of nothing!

photo by Clyde Lovett, Crestone Creations

Poncha Pass
the North Entrance to the Saguache County

photos on this page by clyde lovett, crestonecreations.com

photo by Clyde Lovett, Crestone Creations


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