View Full Version : Sangre de Cristo Mountains Colorado 2017

David Lobato
22-Jul-2017, 11:49
Tomorrow I'm leaving for a trip to Colorado. For 3 to 5 days I'll be up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains going in from the east at Walsenburg. Years ago I traveled that area numerous times, and am looking forward to being there again. I'll be on the Hermit Pass road which follows Taylor Creek. And, btw, there is excellent trout fishing. Hermit Pass has accounted for many successful 4x5 photos in past years. I plan to bring my 4x5 gear with color and b&w film. I may also check out Medano Pass for the east. It's currently closed but if it's open in a few days I will give it a try. If luck holds out I'd like to re-visit the Upper Huerfano Valley which goes up the scenic valley below Blanca Peak from the north. There are nice views of the north face of Blanca on that road. I have some old family history in there. If anyone may be in the area, look for my old white FJ62 LandCruiser.

I intentionally spilled the beans on a few of my favorite locations. The top of Hermit Pass is very accessible with a 4WD truck and has great views and Hermit Peak and Rito Alto Peak are short hikes from there. I'll gladly add more detail about the are if anyone asks.

27-Jul-2017, 17:24
That is a beautiful area, please share some images after you wrap up your trip. Would love to see them.

Brian Schall
27-Jul-2017, 17:44
Lots of thunderstorms in northern NM and southern CO for the next couple of days. If you can dodge them, the clouds should be spectacular.

27-Jul-2017, 19:33
It's not a State secret anymore -- thanks to the BLM development, but one place you might consider is the WEST side of the Sangre de Christo's. Specifically, the NW side of Blanca Pk. Look on the maps just to the SE of Great Sand Dunes, and you will find Zapata Falls. It used to be impossible to find, but it became so popular, BLM developed the whole place and now it is hard to ignore. Nice place for pictures if it's not crowded. But there is an old CCC trail that goes up the creek passed the Falls. The trail is hard to find -- at least it used to be. You have to figure out a way to get around the Falls. It's steep, but the CCC did a great job and the scenery is magnificent. It peters out after a couple of miles in a basin below Blanca Peak, but you can climb as high as you want. Chances are you'll have the whole place to yourself -- at least I did, but that was LONG AGO.

David Lobato
28-Jul-2017, 08:12
xkaes, just over the NE ridge from Zapata Lake is Lily Lake which I've hiked to a couple of times from the east side. The area is very scenic and picturesque.

A broken front shock on the truck necessitated an early exit from the Hermit Pass road. Which was okay since the area had, will get, heavy rain. Plus my tent was drippy inside with the rain, though not disastrously. And a camp stove failed to operate. Despite multiple hardware malfunctions it was a good trip and I exposed several sheets of 4x5 Velvia and HP5+ film. It will be at least another 2-3 weeks before I can post any LF photos.

The shock failure is indicative of how rough the road is. There were constant maneuverings over and around large rocks, with occasional mud for good measure. I don't remember it being that rough 25 years ago. It was also the peak for wildflowers. I could not resist shooting a few 4x5 color photos of the wildflowers. A snow bank blocked the last switchback about 200 feet before the crest of the pass. Not until I got back to Denver did I realize the pass is over 13,000 feet elevation. With a good vehicle and careful driving it's worth the trip for photos.

David Lobato
28-Jul-2017, 08:18
On the road, a photo with my DSLR.


28-Jul-2017, 08:35
If you really want a great place -- to completely avoid people and take great pictures, you can't beat Cottonwood (?) Creek. It is on the west side of the Sangres just SE of Crestone. It is the creek that basically goes straight up -- and I mean STRAIGHT UP! -- the west side of Crestone Peak. There's no trail -- all the wimps that "bag" the peak use the trails (AKA highways) on the south and east of the peaks. I've never seen so many columbines in my life!!! It won't test the shocks in you car -- just your legs!!!

David Lobato
1-Aug-2017, 20:58
We went up the Upper Huerfano Valley today. The road was mildly rough, small SUVs had no trouble on the road. I made several 4x5 exposures. Here's one from the DSLR.


2-Aug-2017, 04:12

Huerfano means Orphan in Spanish. It is one of the poorest counties in Colorado, but certainly one of the richest in scenery. Makes we want to dig out me hikin' boots!!!