We strive to provide our wolves with as peaceful and natural an existence as possible; the area surrounding the sanctuary provides ample outlets for hiking, dining, culture, and local attractions.
Hiding in the mountains near Mission: Wolf is a towering stone castle single-handedly built by Jim Bishop. Since 1969, he has devoted his life to the castle, building everything by hand. The castle is free and open to the public every day of the year. A visit to Bishop’s Castle is well worth the drive (you can take back-roads from Mission: Wolf).
Our neighboring towns of Westcliffe, La Veta, and Walsenburg each have lodging, dining, and entertainment options. Gardner has a few small stores with unreliable hours, so you should not expect to find lodging, food, or gas.
The Courtyard Country Inn is nestled in the heart of Westcliffe, within walking distance to all the main downtown shops and restaurants.
La Casa Roja in Rosita is another excellently situated Airbnb property to explore M:W, Westcliffe, and the surrounding areas.
Music Meadows Ranch is located in Westcliffe, Colorado at the base of the breathtaking Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. Music Meadows offers an incomparable hands-on Colorado working ranch experience with year-round lodging! There are a number of different horseback riding options from beginners to experienced riders, along with cattle drives, hiking, and simply waking up each morning looking out at the Sangres.
Sangre de Cristo Mountains:
One of Colorado’s least known mountain ranges, the Sangres rise steeply to 14,000 feet from the flat valleys on either side. Most visitors to this area come to climb a 14er and leave. The Sangres have eight 14ers, along with miles of hiking trails, pristine mountain lakes, picturesque mountain passes, and other peaks to climb. Access is easy from the east and west. From Mission: Wolf, you can backpack over the Mosca, Music, or Medano passes into the Great Sand Dunes National Park. In our experience, the best map of the Sangres is made by Sky Terrain out of Boulder, CO.
Even lesser known than the Sangres, the Wet Mountains are small by Colorado standards. The range’s high point, Greenhorn Mountain, tops out at 12,352 feet. The Wet Mountains are truly off the beaten path, offering quiet forests, steep canyons, great hiking and rock climbing. Mission: Wolf volunteers recommend hiking to the summit of Greenhorn Mountain for one of the best panoramas in Colorado. During hunting season, be sure to wear bright colors in the back country; the Wet Mountain area is very popular with elk hunters.
Great Sand Dunes National Park:
The Great Sand Dunes are close as the crow flies, but much farther by road. There are two ways to get to the dunes from Mission: Wolf.
- You can drive three hours around the Blanca Peak massif, pay the park entry fee, and use the main park entrance.
- You can drive 45 minutes to Mosca Pass, park your car, and hike four miles downhill into the dunes. Using this route, you avoid extra driving, paying for gas, and paying an entrance fee.
Camping in designated campsites in the national park requires a fee, while back country travel is free (obtain a free permit at the Great Sand Dunes visitor center). If you use the main park entrance, be sure to visit Zapata Falls on the way in or out.
This beautiful locale boasts some of the best views of Southern Colorado and one of the world’s highest suspension bridges.