Blanca Peak (14,345')

RMFI began reconstruction of the summit trail to Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point in 2011.
The trail was re-routed away from a sensitive riparian area, and the old trail was restored

Rising more than 6,000 feet above the San Luis Valley floor, Blanca Peak (14,345’) and Ellingwood Point (14,042’), provide for one of the more breathtaking mountain views found in Colorado. These peaks and the Lake Como Basin are popular recreation spots for hikers, backpackers, mountain climbers and off-highway vehicle (OHV) users. Blanca Peak is a primary draw for hikers and climbers due to its ranking as the 4th highest peak in Colorado, and 7th highest in the continental United States, making it a coveted summit. RMFI broke ground on the Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point Trail Project in 2011. The trail will be completed in 2012.

Both peaks are part of the Sierra Blanca, the southern-most massif of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range within Colorado. The Sangre de Cristos are a long, narrow range running from Southern Colorado into Northern New Mexico. The Colorado portion is 115 miles long and only a few miles at its most narrow width. The Sangre de Cristo range is home to ten 14,000-ft peaks and is a popular destination for a variety of backcountry recreation enthusiasts. The Lake Como Basin and the surrounding peaks of Blanca, Ellingwood Point, and Little Bear have long held a special interest for those who have visited here. There is a rich mining history in the basin with several old cabins from the late 1800’s still partially intact.

Project Goal

To reduce and mitigate recreational impacts to fragile alpine lands associated with climbing Blanca Peak (14,345’) and Ellingwood Point (14,042’) and enhance the quality of the recreation opportunities that the area provides.

Project Objectives

  • Construct a safe, sustainable summit trail from Lake Como Basin to the summits of Blanca Peak and Ellingwood Point
  • Promote environmentally appropriate and sustainable trail design -- Re-route the current trail away from environmentally fragile areas including an alpine wetland west of Crater Lake.
  • Mitigate past recreational impacts by restoring social trails adjacent to the primary trail corridor and restoring associated erosion gullies
  • Provide stewardship opportunities for citizens and stakeholders