Walsenburg is located in east-central Huerfano County, on the north side of the Cucharas River, at the eastern edge of the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Interstate 25 runs along the eastern edge of the city, with access from Exits 49, 50, and 52. I-25 leads north 48 miles (77 km) to Pueblo and south 36 miles (58 km) to Trinidad. U.S. Route 160 passes through the center of Walsenburg, leading west across North La Veta Pass 72 miles (116 km) to Alamosa and south with I-25 to Trinidad. Colorado State Highway 10 leads northeast from Walsenburg 73 miles (117 km) to La Junta.
Walsenburg played a central role in the 1913-1914 Strike of the United Mine Workers of America against the Rockefeller-owned Colorado Fuel and Iron, an event better known as the Colorado Coalfield War.
The town was the site of a Colorado and Southern Railway stop and location of several gun-battles before and after the 20 April 1914 Ludlow Massacre that killed over a dozen women and children when Colorado National Guard opened fire on a striker encampment at Ludlow, 22 miles south of Walsenburg.
Among the first instances of violence in Walsenburg during the coal strikes is known as the Seventh Street Massacre, which saw three miners died in a shooting perpetrated by newly-minted Walsenburg deputies.
The Battle of Walsenburg (28-29 April 1914) was the penultimate engagement of National Guard and militia against pro-strikers during the 10-Day War stage of the conflict. Several men on both sides, as well as at least one uninvolved civilian, were killed before strikers withdrew.