PENITENTE CANYON – Geology, Recreation and Legend

by Mike Rosso

A fascinating history, unique geology and extreme recreation can all be found in the recesses of Penitente Canyon, on the western edge of the San Luis Valley in Saguache County.

Located just outside the village of La Garita, the canyon was originally know as Cañon de Rajadero (Woodsplitter Canyon),  after a pit sawmill located there in the 1800s. (This involved a person standing in a pit operating one end of a two-handled saw with another standing above the log on the other handle.) Old wagon tracks can be also found embedded in the rocks within the colorful canyon — remnants of wood gathering activity from that time period. Lumber milled in the canyon was used to build the original Catholic church in La Garita which has since burned down.

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24 Hours on the Rocks in Gunnison

by Luke Mehall

The mountains in Colorado are ideal for coming of age. I won’t bother quoting anything from “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver here, but I will start with an example from my own life: A few years ago the police came to my place of employment to discuss my overstaying the 14-day limit at a nearby public lands area. Now, years later, this June, the governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, was speaking at a kick-off praising the work we’d done organizing an event at the same area.

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