Blanca Peak

hard 71 reviews

Blanca Peak is a 19.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Alamosa, Colorado that features a lake and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 19.2 miles Elevation Gain: 6,640 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

horseback riding

nature trips

running

forest

lake

river

views

wild flowers

rocky

The road works its way up several switchbacks before entering the valley floor. Along the way you will pass by several ruins of old buildings. The trail will reach Como Lake just before the tree line. This is where motorized vehicles must stop. The trail continues its climb up the valley and passes several more beautiful alpine lakes. Above you to your right will be the imposing face of Little Bear Peak. As the trail nears the end of the valley it ascends a small headwall where many paths break off. After passing the head wall head toward the ridge just to the right of the saddle first. The views from this ridge are breathtaking and a little scary. Follow the ridge the rest of the way to the summit.

hiking
rocky
scramble
3 months ago

Sunmited 11/6/19. Day 1 - hiked the parking lot to lakes 6 am - 12 pm Day 2 - lakes to summit 545 am - 930 am No mosquitos for me. Ankle deep snow on worst parts. Maybe 70% of the trail was clear. Should have left the ice axe and crampons in the car. Thought about bringing the dog. Glad I didn’t. Last 300 feet was a scramble and I personally don’t see how a dog could do it safely. Great hike. Enjoy !

hiking
scramble
4 months ago

We were able to make it up approximately five miles and then hiked the rest of the way to Lake Como. spent the night at the lake and then summited Blanca the next day. I recommend camping at the lake but there were a lot of people who started from the very bottom and summited that day. It's a pretty rough, mostly rock and boulders up to the lake. Watch your ankles!

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 months ago

Did this as a day hike and didn’t love it. The walk to and back from Lake Como is awful. Plus, literally the whole 18 miles is huge rocks. I also don’t recommend taking your dog on this hike. The size of the rocks can’t be understated. If I did again I would camp at Lake Como and spend a few nights there.

hiking
5 months ago

Lost red Patagonia vest on the trail down during a storm. If anyone finds please comment on here. Thanks

hiking
6 months ago

Pretty fun and laid back hike. Easy to follow the trail for a class 2 14er

hiking
bugs
scramble
7 months ago

Finally summited this weekend (July 21) after trying two previous times in October. I have not done many technical trails, and seeing 14ers.com rating of Blanca as a “difficult class 2” made me think the final push would be easier than it was. I personally would have described it as class 3. I’m just not used to or comfortable with much exposure and that made it difficult for me. The scrambling itself wasn’t bad. If you’re comfortable with that then I’m sure you’d be fine. Views were amazing and the weather was perfect. We saw a doe sheep and her baby on the way up. Tons of people out jeeping so Lake Como was a bit crowded. No snow gear was needed. There were So many mosquitos so definitely bring some bug spray and a bug net.

hiking
snow
7 months ago

The hike up to Blanca Peak was great! The road is full of large rocks/boulders so don't plan on getting too far up unless you have a 4×4. Many people camped at the lake near the top. After the lakes there is still a lot of snow so an ice axe and crampons are ideal. I made it up with just Yaktraks but it was pretty sketchy... The snow was firm and icy in the early hours but once the sun hit it it got soft real fast.

11 months ago

My girlfriend and I set out from the very first parking lot at the very bottom and set out for the peak . This was the absolute best , most fun , scenic, memorable , 14er so far. loved every change of scenery and foliage along the way , at times you forget you are even in Colorado. enjoy this one guys and girls . peace

hiking
snow
Sun Feb 10 2019

Very good conditions for a winter hike!

hiking
Tue Oct 16 2018

First: I have tried summitting Blanca before, also in the middle of October. The first time we weren't quite prepared enough and didn't feel safe without spikes or crampons. Also, Lake Como Road is a bit of an ankle breaker and it really killed my knees. So, this year we thought we'd be clever and try to mountain bike the road and had enough snow gear to do the summit. What we had forgotten: the majority of the road is not even bikeable on the way up, so we ended up walking our flipping bikes up 4k of gain to Lake Como. They were sort of worth it on the way down, but a large portion still was too sketchy to bike down until the halfway point of the road. We ended up not being able to summit (again.....) due to weather blowing in about 6 hours earlier than we had previously been told. We did see a herd of big horn sheep, which was great. The rest was pretty meh considering we still didn't bag the peak. If we had I'm sure it would have been 5 stars.

ohv/off road driving
Wed Sep 19 2018

Broke a rear locker and still worth it!

backpacking
Fri Aug 17 2018

Amazing trail. Very easy for a fourteener, however the road in is very bad. We made it in about 3 miles in a Chevy Silverado. However, most people had to park further down the mountain. The trail was very nice though. Our little shepherd even made it to the peak.

Tue Jul 24 2018

Was pretty easy combo w ellingwood. (I like southwest ridge(class 3) of ellingwood do Blanca for combo..Really hard day if u don’t get to or close enough to Lake Como... need a MONSTER truck to make it up.

Tue Jul 17 2018

most beautiful backpacking trip ive ever done. would do it again. spend an extra day at lake como, its worth it just soaking in its beauty.

Tue Apr 10 2018

Hard.

hiking
Mon Feb 19 2018

I've lived in the SLV most of my life, and Blanca's summit had been calling for a while. I finally decided to get in shape to do it, starting by regularly hiking Limekiln Hill, west of Monte Vista, sometimes doing time trials, sometimes adding 50lbs of weight, and then proceeding to hiking ever larger hills and mountains: Pup, Dog, Horseshoe, Windy, Bennett, Handies, West Spanish Peak, Twin Peaks, etc. Then, on a nice day, I finally went for it, thinking I'd just see how far I could get before weather or fatigue made continuing seem unwise. I was hurrying, trying to beat the usual afternoon thunderstorms. I started at 8700 feet at 7am. To my surprise, I made it to the summit at 11:20am without any real difficulty! It was easier than I expected! The area around Como and the upper basin below Blanca and Ellingwood are gorgeous! And the views from the summit are hard to beat. I had been concerned about how I'd do with the exposure on the ridge, looking down Blanca's north face, but I found that I was fine with it. But most of it, aside from a spot or two near the summit, is entirely avoidable if it makes you uncomfortable. The scrambling near the top is easy if you have even a little scrambling/climbing experience. I found trekking poles very helpful, as always, especially for the descent. Bring some tape to treat hot spots before they turn into blisters. The long descent can be grueling. Make sure your shoes or boots fit properly and leave a little space in front of your toes. I don't recommend this hike, especially in one day, unless you are very fit and understand the weather risks. Afternoon thunderstorms are the norm in summer and can be very dangerous up above treeline.

hiking
Sat Dec 02 2017

Started at 7 and I expected it to be an easy hike. But the road you hike on is fist sized round rocks that make walking terrible. The wind on top was 15 mph and it was manageable but the 7 degrees plus wind chill made it extremely cold. I would totally do it again though. Ended up taking 11 hours and ended up two miles from my car in the dark. PS: if you want at about 13000 ft on the left their is an old mine shaft 300 yards from the trail and it’s only 20 feet deep but it’s a nice relief from the wind and snow drifts.

backpacking
Thu Aug 24 2017

Excellent hike. Wish I would have pushed my jeep a little further, at least until the switchbacks started. Nonetheless we got to tack on an additional few miles of hiking. Getting to coma lake, summiting Blanca the next morning, breathtaking views of neighboring peaks, all made it worth it. Tough hike, good challenge.

camping
Sun May 14 2017

Been here for over a week and dont plan on leaving yet

backpacking
Wed Feb 22 2017

Very rocky trail, first couple of miles to Lake Como are rough. After that a very easy climb. Bears are present so make sure to hang your food. Views are unbeatable. Note: This is one of the most challenging off road trails in all of Colorado. Do not push your vehicles. You will know when its time to quit, and it will be very challenging to turn around if you go too far.

hiking
Sun Jul 24 2016

Incredible hike, very rocky though

backpacking
Mon Jul 18 2016

It was super fun for my very first 14er! I recorded a video please check it out. If you are an Elton John fan you are gonna love it! https://youtu.be/1DBu-EfItCE With love, "Apollo" Creede Wylie

hiking
Sun Oct 12 2014

This hike was my first backpacking trip ever! I am an avid outdoorsman but I had never been backcountry backpacking before until my friend planned this trip for us while I was away with the Army in 2010. We did the trip in early October of 2010. We were able to drive my standard F150 4X4 up Lake Como road to around 8500 feet. I did not want to push my truck up much further than that, mainly since it had to still take us to the Grand Canyon and back home to Tennessee. We budgeted a whole day of hanging out around Lake Como and adapting to the altitude before we hit the three summits. We took some pills for two weeks prior to our trip which seemed to help pre-adjust for the gain from our Middle Tennessee altitude. I packed up a light-weight Diawa spinning rod set up to catch some trout in Lake Como. I did manage to catch and release several 8-10" trout in the crystal clear lake. I was throwing a small 1/16th oz Little Cleo spoon and different colors of 1/16th oz RoosterTail brand spinners on a 4 lb Mono line. The weather changed significantly throughout our accent up the main trail. It was around 80 degrees at the truck at 4:00 PM and by the time we made it to Lake Como it was around 9:00 PM and it was snowing a little. This was a demanding trail and I would recommend training and conditioning before attacking a trip like this one. The hikes up to Little Bear and Blanca were very challenging for a greenhorn like myself at the time. However, I managed to keep up and make it happen. The hour-glass was pretty sketchy headed up to Little Bear but it was a view and memory that we will never forget!

hiking
Thu Jul 26 2012

Summit ed Blanca after Little Bear and found the whole experience to be quite exhilarating. The climb up Little Bear and the knife edge ridge traverse to Blanca made for the best 3 hours ever.

hiking
Sun Feb 05 2012

Awesome trail.....did it in August of 2010. Beautiful views.

hiking
Mon Oct 24 2011

Incredibly hard trail. I you don't have a major 4wd then you can add several miles to get to the trailhead. I tried to to get to the peak but only made it to Lake Como, which is the prettiest site I've ever seen. Even in October people on the trail said there were winter conditions on the peak, including 2.5 feet of snow. I saw several bighorn rams, but no other wildlife. Be very cautious of altitude sickness because you gain elevation so fast.

hiking
Tue Jul 12 2011

Deep snow in March will hinder you a bit even if you have snowshoes as you will need to continually put them on and take them off between shady parts of the trail. Overall, spectacular views and an awesome climb up Little Bear Peak and Ellingwood Point as well as to Mt. Lindsey. It is certainly a tough hike, so make sure you are acclimatized well and in good shape for the trip.

Load More