Located on Highway 12, the Highway of Legends Scenic Byway, just south of US 160 La Veta is a small town that is an anchor for the ranching community and is home to a thriving arts community and the last surviving original adobe fort in Colorado, Francisco Fort.
The Great Dikes of the Spanish Peaks—large, vertical granite formations that radiate outward from the Spanish Peaks—surround La Veta. Numerous walking and biking trails in La Veta showcase the town’s scenery, which is unique to this pocket of Colorado.
La Veta was founded in 1862 by Colonel John Francisco and Henry Daigre. Initially called Francisco Plaza, the two men chose a beautiful level piece of ground in a wide sweeping bend of the Cucharas river. The Colonel took one look at his new property and announced, "This is paradise enough for me."
Col. Francisco secured 1,700 acres upon which he agreed to erect a fort, which was to protect people in the area from Indians, although the nearest neighbor was some 20 miles away. Within a few years they were raising bumper crops on a thousand acres, and both had become wealthy. They sold lots to whoever wanted one and the settlement grew.
Former territorial Governor A.C. Hunt of the Denver & Rio Grande rode into the Plaza in 1876, scouting a path for a railroad. Hunt walked out the train route, and then platted the town. Hunt laid out the town and sold town lots for a railroad terminal at La Veta Pass in 1876.