Culebra (Main) Trailhead


Sangre de Cristo
37.15° N, -105.2925° W
14ers: Culebra Peak
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Road Difficulty

Easy 4WD, good clearance recommended. 3   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD dirt to the ranch. Easy 4WD to the upper TH.

Driving 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 Cielo Vista Ranch at the North Headquarters gate.
  • 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.

More Info

Important Notes: Due to inaccuracies, do not use Google/Apple Maps directions to get to the Culebra trailhead. Please use the instructions on the trailhead page.
Status Updates 
Posted By: zdero1
Info: 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.
Posted By: --bb--
Info: 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.
Posted By: jfaust
Info: 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.
Posted By: Roald
Info: 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.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: Closed for the winter
Posted By: Corndiggs
Info: The ranch is now taking reservations for the summer. They told me the first day will be June 27th. Same number as posted below.
Posted By: RoanMtnMan
Info: 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.
Posted By: CO Native
Info: 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.
Posted By: Rockymtnhigh69
Info: 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..
Posted By: downhilldave
Info: 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.
Posted By: BillMiddlebrook
Info: 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’).

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