- The Saguache Ranger District includes the northwestern corner of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. The wilderness area extends 70 miles along the Sangre de Cristo Mountain range. It includes most of the range north from Blanca Peak to Salida. The region encompasses 226,455 acres and four fourteeners. The Crestone Group including Crestone Peak (14,294 feet), Crestone Needle (14,197 feet), Kit Carson Peak (14,165 feet) and Humboldt Peak (14,064 feet) lie within the wilderness.
Copyright: Jamiebea Hall-Interactive Outdoors, Inc.
View from Zapata Falls Parking Area - 10.98
Recreation - The wilderness area has plenty of opportunities for climbers, hikers, backpackers, hunters and those who enjoy beautiful, rugged wilderness. There are over 400 miles of hiking trails, 60 alpine lakes, 30 peaks over 13,000 feet, forests, tundra, wildlife, fishing, hunting and waterfalls.
Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Elevations range from 8,000 feet to over 14,000 feet at the top of several mountain peaks. In general, the climate in the lower elevations is arid, with cool nights and hot days while the high country is cold and sometimes humid.
Summer is short and frost may occur anytime in high elevations. Annual temperature extremes range from 90 degrees in summer to 30 degrees below zero in winter. Rapid weather changes, with temperature changes of 40 degrees in periods as short as four to six hours, occur frequently.
A portion of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area is located in the Saguache District of San Juan-Rio Grande National Forests. The largest road accessing the area is Highway 17. The panoramic vistas can be wonderful on this road that runs north of Alamosa and ends at U.S. Highway 285. U.S. 285 north takes you to Poncha Springs and Salida.
There are only two major roads to the east that take you into the Wilderness. Six Mile Lane goes to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. The road to Crestone is south of Moffat. There are other access roads, be sure to have a good map before you go exploring any of them.