Photo
Culebra Peak
standard Northwest Ridge
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Difficulty:
 Class 2 
Risk Factors:Exposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Moderate  
 
Trailhead:Culebra (Main)
Start:11,240 feet
Summit:14,047 feet
Total Gain:2,700 starting at 4WD trailhead
3,150 starting at Four Way
5,450 starting at ranch HQ building
RT Length:5 miles starting at 4WD trailhead
7 miles starting at Four Way
14 miles starting at ranch HQ building
Duration:User Climb Times
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Updated:7/2020
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:83 reports
Cell Signal:7 reports
Sheriff:Costilla: 719-672-3302
Quad. Maps:Log In to View
Camping:On Google Maps
Eats:On Google Maps
Downloads:Log In to Download
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Trailhead

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.

Route

Culebra Peak is privately owned and all hikes require advanced booking through the Cielo Vista Ranch website. A $150 fee is charged by the ranch and must be paid upon arrival or through their website, if/when they allow online reservations. In recent years, the ranch has allowed hiking from January through July but this can change each year, so please contact the ranch for availability.

1 and 2 are distant views of Culebra from the northwest. Once in the ranch ( 3), much of Culebra is not visible until you are above 11,000' on the dirt road. Leave the ranch HQ and drive approx. 3.4 miles to reach a junction called "Four Way" - 4, 5 and 6. Continue 1 mile east up the road to reach the upper trailhead, at 11,650' - 7 and 8. There's no trail up Culebra, but you have two main options: 1) Just before dropping to the parking area, locate an old, closed road that heads east. Walk up the road and when it ends, continue along the north side of the slopes before turning south to follow the northwest ridge. 2) Or take a more-direct line by crossing the stream just below the parking area and hiking southeast up Culebra's northwest slopes. The 1st option is shown as a dashed line on the route photos+map but the 2nd option is more popular and described in this route description.

Walk southeast from the parking area, cross a stream, and continue southeast towards the slopes above - 9. Hike away from the stream and continue along a gentle ridge on the south side of the stream/creek - 10. Now above tree line, continue southeast toward the top of the slopes - 11, and 12. Reach the ridge crest at 13,350', near a large cairn - 13 and 14. To the southeast, you can see much of the remaining route, but not the summit - 15.

Turn right and walk south past the large cairn, through some large rocks and descend a short distance down the ridge to reach a 13,200-foot saddle - 16 and 17. Staying on the ridge, continue east toward a false summit - 18. There a couple of rough sections along the ridge but route finding is not a problem. Hike up through mostly-stable rock ( 19) to reach the top of the false summit , at 13,900' - 20. The true summit is less than 1/2 mile away - 21. Drop slightly, pass over a small hump, and ascend the final summit pitch - 22 and 23. 24 and 25 were taken on top .

Notes

None
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 #21 #22 #23 #24 #25
Topo
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