Just west of the northern end of Pass Creek Road is Red Wing. Red Wing is more of an area than a town but in the old days, there must have been at least a trading post in this area. The geology of this area is interesting, too, with all the Dakota sandstone walls, granite dikes and old fault lines running through.

Sheep Mountains
Dakota Sandstone, west of the Sheep Mountains

The mountains to the south and west of Red Wing are old, about 1.7 billion years old, part of the Colorado Orogeny upthrust that put Mt. Blanca, California Peak, the Front Range, and most of the Wet Mountains in place. The mountains to the east of Red Wing are young, about 25 million years old, all part of the igneous intrusion that we call Mt. Mestas, Silver Mountain, Rough Mountain, and the Sheep Mountains. This area was once part of the Grayback Mining District, with most of the mining activity going on in the mountains to the south and west.

The settlement at Malachite, just east of Red Wing, was named for all the flakes of copper that were found in Pass Creek in that area. Enough copper was found that a stamp mill was built and operated for years but no "mother lode" of minable copper was ever found.

looking north in Red Wing
North side of Red Wing Ranch, looking north
lava palisades in Red Wing
These are lava palisades in Red Wing
Upper Huerfano Valley
Looking southwest up the Upper Huerfano Valley, Huerfano Peak in the distance
Sheep Mountains
Looking east from the west side of Red Wing

Red Wing lies directly on top of some of the fault lines that formed the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The road crosses back and forth through upthrust plates of Dakota sandstone and in between vertical granite walls. The Dakota sandstone testifies to the upward thrusting of the ground: this was horizontal sandstone (ocean bottom) until it was turned up by action along the fault line. The vertical granite walls testify to the flow of molten magma in the cracks in the ground caused by the action along the fault line. Of course, all this activity happened 25 or so million years or more ago. And what we have now...

Granite dike
An igneous intrusion in the center of the valley
pioneer dwellings
From the early days of Red Wing
pioneer cabin
From the early days of Red Wing

These days, Red Wing is a very agrarian area. The opening of La Veta Pass was the end of nearly all traffic across Sangre de Cristo Pass and Mosca Pass, especially after the mud slide that closed Mosca Pass to all but foot and horseback traffic. Most traffic in this area now is either travelling on Pass Creek Road or on the county road heading west to the Huerfano State Wildlife Area and the Upper Huerfano Trailheads at the foot of Mt. Blanca and at the edge of San Isabel National Forest.