|USGS 7.5' Map:||Twin Peaks, Blanca Peak|
|Adopted by:||Creeper Jeepers Gang||P.O. Box 4583, Durango, CO 81302|
|Managed by:||Rio Grande National Forest
Conejos Peak Ranger District
BLM San Luis Valley Field Office
|15571 County Road T5
La Jara, CO 81140
1313 U.S. Highway 160
Monte Vista, CO 81144
|Summary:||Blanca Peak is a very difficult 4WD road. It starts near the town of Blanca in dry sagebrush and ends up at 12,000 feet in a cirque on the west side of Blanca Peak. There are four major obstacles and a handfull of minor obstacles to conquer. The road runs along the souther edge of the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness.|
|Agency - March 15 to May 15|
June - Upper parts may be snowed in
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best, fall colors
October - Possible early snows
|Blanca Peak Trail, FT886 - Hiking|
|Camping:||There are a few dispersed camp sites along the lower section on BLM lands, and a few more on the forest as you start up Chokecherry Canyon.|
|Base Camp:||This would be a good place to base camp and explore the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Meadno Pass, FR559, and the Zapata Falls.|
|Fall Colors:||Good - Lots of fall color at the lower elevations.|
|Navigation:||From Alamosa, CO. head east on 6th St toward Edison Ave for 0.4 miles. Take a slight left onto US-160 E/Denver Ave and continue to follow US-160 east for 14.5 miles. Turn left onto CO-150 and go north for 3.2 miles. Turn right onto a dirt road. This is the Blanca Peak 4WD road starting point.|
Camp Commodore was located along the road up Holbrook Creek to Lake Como below Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point. In 1899 gold was discovered here in a patch of wild raspberries. Other mines were also discovered above Lake Como.
The story of the lost mine on Blanca Peak was relayed from Charles Guhse to Muriel Sibell Wolle in 1956. On Blanca Peak north of the small camp of Columbia was the White Pigeon Mine. It was on Snowslide Mountain and had been covered in a snow slide. Many prospectors and soldiers from Fort Garland searched for it. An Italian prospector would return from the area with rich gold ore once in awhile. Many tried to follow him back into the mountains and find the mine, but none could. Years after this, Bob Hollenbeck found a tunnel and old shack with playing cards, G.A.R. buttons (presumably Fort Garland) and two skeletons.
Jessen, Kenneth Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volumn 3, 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: J.V. Publications, 2001. Print.
Wolle, Muriel. Timberline Tailings Athens, Ohio: Swallow Press, 1977. Print.
|From the turn off of Hwy 150 the Blanca Peak 4WD road is a two track through the sage brush. There is a large parking area at the start. The road will head northeast toward Chokecherry Canyon and Blanca Peak. After about a mile you will come to an intersection where a road crosses the main road. Continue northeast on the main road. You will begin to follow a fence line on the south side of the road. On the north will be pulloffs and places where people have camped. The road will narrow and become rougher and you climb toward the mountains.
After about three and a half miles you will leave BLM lands and enter the National Forest. The road will now follow the west side of Chokecherry Canyon as it gains altitude. You will drive six switchbacks as you continue to follow Chokecherry Canyon. The road will be rougher now with larger rock outcrops to climb. After the last switchback the road will be on a ridge past Chokecherry Canyon following Holbrook Creek on the drivers side.
After about two and a half miles the forest will thin out a bit and you will come to the first major obstacle, known as Jaws 1. It is a high rock fin that cuts across the road diagonally with a drop off toward Holbrook Creek. This will test your suspension travel.
Just past past Jaws 1, you will come to three cabin foundations along the road. This is the remains of Camp Commodore.
Past the cabin foundations you will cross Holbrook Creek and quickly come to Jaws 2, just past a switchback. This obstacle is another rock outcrop running across the road.
It has a tendacy to high center vehicles. Being on a ledge section, it leaves little room for error. In the late 1990s the Forest Service blasted a small part off of the top of this rock knob to improve safety.
After a short drive along the talus you will head back into the trees and come to Jaws 3. This is a "v" notch that you will have to drive up.
The steps are large and require good tire placement. Past Jaws 3 you will cross a boulder field and then follow along the side of the talus slope of the mountain again.
In about a half mile you will come to Como Lake. There use to be a cabin along the south side of Como Lake. This was once private property that was traded to the Forest Service for lands near South Fork.
The road will now run around the north side of Como Lake and then turn south to cross a marshy area.
Note: In 1997, the Colorado Association of 4WD Clubs, Colorado Off-Highway Vehilce Coalition, and Alamosa County, stopped the proposed closure of the upper section of the Blanca Peak 4WD road by the US Forest Service. The road was proved to pre-date the creation of the Rio Grande National forest and using Revised Statue 2477, Alamosa County claimed road ownership, keeping the road open.
Once through the marsh area, the road will climb back onto rocky ground and enter the forest again. Just after entering the trees there will be another cabin foundation on the east side of the road. There is a hill climb near this cabin the will be difficult.
The road will head out of the trees and run along the north ridge between Little Bear Peak and Blanca Peak. There will be more obstacles as you cross this tundra area passing small ponds. After crossing Holbrook Creek again the road will end next to Blue Lakes. If your lucky it is not too late in the afternoon, because you have to drive it all again to get back to the Highway.
|Data updated - December 26, 2017 4WD Road driven - August 19, 1997 Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2018|