Naturita sits in a narrow canyon on either side of the San Miguel River. Trees and farmland line the river and cedars cover the hills and the mesas above. The streets are narrow and wind around to conform to the shape of the space between the river and the hills. The Utah border is not far to the west.
Naturita was founded in 1881 by ranchers who raised their cattle in these remote and quiet parts of Colorado. In the early 1900s, their lifestyle changed when copper and camolite were discovered in nearby Paradox Valley. Suddenly Naturita became a mining town and supply center for mining in the region. Soon the mining boom ended and the miners left and Naturita returned to ranching. In 1939 a new mining boom started with the opening of a nearby mill that processed vanadium and uranium. This ended with the closing of the last such plant
Naturita has a close neighbor to the north, Nucla, a town built on the plateau above the city. State Highway 141 passes east-west through Naturita. It follows the gorge of the San Miguel River for many miles to the west and north. The San Miguel flows into the Dolores River and the river and highway continue northward from there. This drive is of breath-taking scenic beauty, through a remote, rugged country of cliff-lined gorges, beautiful meadows and tree-lined river banks. To the east it leaves the San Miguel and follows Naturita Creek. State Highway 97 is a short connecting highway between Naturita and Nucla. It is a long drive from Naturita to any city of any size.
The elevation at Naturita is about 5,400, while the mesas above are about 5,800 feet. The population of Naturita was 635 as of the 2000 census.