The Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range is in southern Colorado and extends from the Arkansas River near Salida in
the north to La Veta Pass in the south. Some sources say they actually run all the way down to
New Mexico, but I’ve only really explored this northern section as it is close to my home in Colorado Springs.
I love backpacking in this range, and have been for 20 years, because of the National Wilderness Area included, the relatively few
people, and decent trout fishing.
As a general rule you can expect the trailheads to be at an elevation of 9,000 feet, and the lakes to
be at approximately 11,500 feet.
The hiking trails are typically about 4-1/2 miles with only two I can think of which are less, while several are more lengthy at 7 miles.
Due to the lakes and creeks water is generally nearby.
Rarely do I encounter bears, though it has happened, and spotting Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep, Mule Deer, elk
and golden eagles are possible. I actually witnessed two golden eagles kill a small deer a few years ago right near Venable Peak.
Access to the trailheads is good with few 4WD roads and most are maintained gravel roads. Though sometimes figuring out which road leads to the trailhead is difficult.
From north to south I’ve backpacked to the following lakes with only two exceptions:
Lakes of the Clouds
Megan (haven’t been here)
Medano (haven’t been here)
There are several other lakes, but they are accessible via car or 4WD, so no need for the backpack and gear.
If you haven’t been to the Sange de Cristo range I highly recommend the map by Sky Terrain, titled: Sangre de Cristo Great Sand Dunes.
I’ve found it very helpful. They provide trail distances, elevation gains and brief descriptions of the trails.
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