Culebra (Main) Trailhead
Added by BillMiddlebrook

Location:  Sangre de Cristo Range
14ers Served:  Culebra Peak
Road Type:  Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to the ranch. Easy 4WD to the upper TH.
Directions:  From Alamosa or Walsenburg, take U.S. 160 to the town of Fort Garland and...
  • Turn south on Highway 159 and drive just over 15.5 miles to reach the town of San Luis.
  • Near a Conoco gas station, turn left on 4th Street (P.6 Road) and drive 4.0 miles to the town of Chama.
  • Turn left on the L.7 Road.
  • Drive 3.6 miles on L.7, cross a bridge and turn right on the 25.5 Road (dirt).
  • Drive 0.5 mile on 25.5 and turn left on the M.5 Road.
  • Drive 0.9 mile on M.5 to reach the North Gate of the ranch.
  • The gate is normally closed/locked and ranch representatives will meet you for an escort to the ranch headquarters, usually at 6am on the morning of your hike.
  • Once through the north HQ gate, continue 2 miles to the ranch headquarters for check-in.
  • Leave HQ on an easy-4WD road (It is 4.4 miles total to the upper trailhead).
  • At 0.1 mile, stay right.
  • Near 2.5 miles, the road goes through some great meadows (~11,000’).
  • Reach "Four Way" at 3.4 miles. Plenty of parking.
  • Continue straight through Four Way to reach the upper trailhead at 4.4 miles.
Winter Access:  Closed in winter unless you get special permission from the ranch.
Date Status Information Posted By  Photos  Comments Likes Dislikes    
2015-08-01 Road thru ranch to the upper 4wd trailhead was in good condition today. Parked at lower Fourway trailhead just to get some extra vertical, but most other vehicles drove up to the upper trailhead one mile farther with no issue. Honestly, I think the road between Fourway and the upper trailhead is easier than the section between the ranch headquarters and Fourway. No clearance issues at all. We drove a Ford F-150, but I would have been comfortable driving my Subaru. Road is a bit steep approaching Fourway, so low gear while descending is advised. Power would be the biggest issue getting up the steep sections, not clearance. Slept in truck at gate. Ranch hand arrived 5:50 AM and promptly opened the gate and escorted hikers to headquarters to sign in at 6 AM. Hiking by 6:35 am. Tent camping is just inside the gate along with clean porta potty. mtgirl    2 1    
2015-06-27 Road to upper 4WD parking was in good shape. A few steep sections getting up to four way, but no rocks or other significant obstacles to speak of all the way to the end of the road. Most difficult part of the drive was getting in and out of the parking lot. We were in an AWD Nissan Rogue loaded down with 4 people. fahixson         
2015-06-26 Open, if you have a reservation BillMiddlebrook         
2014-08-09 I made it up the four-wheel drive road from the ranch to the trailhead in a Ford Escape Hybrid with all-wheel drive. So I was not even driving a true four-wheel drive and I still made it up the road. In fact the road was much better than I was expecting it to be and I went right up it with no problems. I thought going down it was harder than going up because of how steep the road is. I kept my vehicle in low gear and carefully work my way through the rougher sections of the road and made it back to the ranch with no issues. Based on what I saw it looks like the ranch is using the hiking fees to keep that road in good condition. OutbackDobbs  4       
2014-06-28 I made it up in my Subaru Forester OK today. The road is quite steep so i had it floored in 1st gear on several stretches. The ruts are easily avoided. jsdratm         
2014-06-20 No 2wd. If you try a 2wd you can straddle the large ruts on the way to the ranch. And you could pick your way around rocks and more ruts after the ranch. But the road from the ranch to Fourway is so steep, I could only get up to 10 to 15 miles/hour with the accelerator of my 4wd floored. And some of the steep stuff was littered with loose rock. On another note, camping is allowed. The ok to camp sign was stolen, but I talked to the ranch hand and he encourages you to use the flat area across from the outhouse and on the corner with the telephone pole. Lots of good flat sites. Just step through the bars. mspalding  1  2      
2013-07-06 The road was in great condition and easily passable in my Subaru Forester. I don‘t know how conditions were last year, but this road should be easily traversable by a Jeep or any 4wd vehicle. I only saw 4wd vehicles at the TH but a very determined driver of a 2wd vehicle could make it IMO. zdero1         
2012-06-24 One minor note: the gas station at the intersection of Highway 159 and P.6 (4th street) in San Luis is now a Conoco (not Phillips 66). Also, the 4wd road is fine. Just make sure you are comfortable driving. Carlos helped two jeeps out yesterday. if you are weary about driving, go up the hill last or ask a fellow hiker for a lift. --bb--    2      
2012-06-23 Road to the ranch HQ can be driven by any car, very dusty. Recommend clearance and 4WD for anything past that. The clearance doesn‘t need to be anything crazy, but due to the steepness in several sections of road it is very easy to spin out in 2WD. jfaust         
2011-08-28 Just want to make sure everyone is clear that the road from the gate to the ranch headquarters is great, but the road from the headquarters to four way and on to the upper trailhead is terrible. You will need AWD at a minimum, and decent clearance would help. Several people had to get rides from 4WD vehicles today from the ranch. It sure doesn‘t look like they‘re using some of the $100 fee to maintain this road, or at least not using enough of it. Roald         
2009-12-13 Closed for the winter BillMiddlebrook         
2009-05-20 The ranch is now taking reservations for the summer. They told me the first day will be June 27th. Same number as posted below. Corndiggs         
2009-05-03 As of 5/2/09 the TH was covered starting 1.6 miles above the ranch HQ. The ranch management will not let anyone past this mark in motorized vehicles until the snow melts. The snowpack on the road until 4-way is very water lubricated and makes for difficult travel with snowshoes or skis. RoanMtnMan         
2009-01-29 The Cielo Vista Ranch will begin taking reservations on May 16th. You may contact the ranch at 254-897-7872 on that date to begin making reservations. CO Native         
2008-06-29 The trail up to Fourway is completely dry where our group parked. A couple of folks drove right up to the top parking lot with no problem. The road is in good shape. There are some ruts and some erosion from streams running down the road but they can be easily avoided with some care.. Rockymtnhigh69         
2005-07-22 The road to the gate and to the ranch HQ is maintained and in good shape (passable in a passenger car. There is some room at the gate to camp along the road. The road above the ranch gets steep and there are some waterbars and rocks in the road that would require a high-clearence car. downhilldave         
2005-05-31 Reservations are required and there is a fee to hike the peak. Call 254-897-7872 for reservations or access information. The road to the ranch is always open but the ranch is gated. The ranch owners allow climbing during summer when the road to the trailhead is fully open (easy 4WD to 11,650'). BillMiddlebrook         

In the ranch, approaching the 4WD road (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2006-05-16)A rutted section of road just beyond the ranch headquarters. (Added by: CO Native on 2009-01-29)Most of the road looks like this. (Added by: CO Native on 2009-01-29)Fourway (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2015-08-14)Overnight parking at the gate (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2015-08-14)Meet here for the morning escort into the ranch (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2015-08-14)Upper, 4wd trailhead + parking area (Added by: BillMiddlebrook on 2015-08-14)

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