Sangre de Cristo Range

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The Sangre de Cristo Range is a narrow mountain range of the Rocky Mountains running north and south along the east side of the Rio Grande Rift in southern Colorado in the United States. The mountains extend southeast from Poncha Pass for about 75 miles (120 km) through south-central Colorado to La Veta Pass, approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Walsenburg, and form a high ridge separating the San Luis Valley on the west from the watershed of the Arkansas River on the east.

According to the USGS, the range is the northern part of the larger Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which extend through northern New Mexico. Usage of the terms "Sangre de Cristo Range" and "Sangre de Cristo Mountains" is varied; however this article discusses only the mountains between Poncha Pass and La Veta Pass.


Notable peaks

A more comprehensive list of Sangre de Cristo Mountains is given at Pikes Peak Photo and SummitPost sites: see External Links.


Most of the range is shared by two National Forests, which abut along the range divide. Most of the northeast (Arkansas River) side is located within the San Isabel National Forest, while most of the southwest (San Luis Valley) side is included in the Rio Grande National Forest. The central part of the range is designated as the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. The Great Sand Dunes National Park sits on the southwestern flank of the range at the edge of the San Luis Valley. The range divide is traversed by no paved roads, but only by four wheel drive and foot trails over Hayden Pass, Hermit Pass, Music Pass, Medano Pass, and Mosca Pass.

The highest peak in the range, located in the south, is Blanca Peak (14,345 feet/4,372 m); it is flanked by three other fourteeners, Little Bear Peak, Mount Lindsey, and Ellingwood Point[1]. Other well-known peaks are the fourteeners of the Crestone group: Kit Carson Mountain, Crestone Peak, Crestone Needle, and Humboldt Peak. Two sub-peaks of Kit Carson Mountain, Challenger Point and Columbia Point, are named in memory of the crews of the Space Shuttle Challenger and the Space Shuttle Columbia. The range is also home to many high peaks in the 13,000 to 14,000 foot (3,900-4,300 m) range. See the Sangre de Cristo Mountains article for other noteworthy summits in the greater range.

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