Cordova Pass lies on the western shoulder of the West Spanish Peak, and east of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado.
Begin in Cucara and ride south on paved SH 12
Continue riding south and southeast to FR 415--mile 5.8
At this point the road is gravel
Continue riding northeast to Cordova Pass Summit--mile 11.9
Continue riding east on CR 46 and finish in Gulnare--mile 31.75
Cordova Pass is traversed by a two-lane dirt road. Ride from Aguilar to Cuchara on county roads. From Aguilar take County Road (CR) 43.7 to CR 46. You will cross under the fantastic Apishapa Arch around 25 miles into the ride. At the top of the pass, the road changes to CR 364. CR 364 ends at State Hwy 12. A right turn will take you into Cuchara. It is about 40.6 miles from Aguilar to Cuchara.
Aguilar, 28.6 miles to the east
Cuchara, 12 miles to the northwest
Gulnare, 19.85 to the east
La Veta, 23.1 miles to the northwest
The pass was known prior to 1934 as Apishapa Pass, an Apache Indian word meaning “stinking water”. Stagnant pools of water developed on the side of the road due to poor drainage.
The area has unique igneous rock dikes where the old road builders bored a tunnel and is named Apishapa Arch.
The Cordova Pass road was completed in 1934 by the Works Progress Administration/Civilian Conservation Corps (WPA/CCC). Cordova Pass road was designated a part of the Scenic Highway of Legends and Colorado Scenic Historic Byways on June 23, 1935. It was named after Jose De Jesus Cordova (1856-1929), a man well known in this part of Colorado. For over 40 years, he operated a ranch near Aguilar and helped secure funding for the road project in 1928. Cordova served his community and was elected to three terms as Las Animas County Commissioner.