LoJ: #324 (Pre-LiDAR #316) / 13,398' Mariquita Peak

Quadrangle › El Valle Creek, Trinchera Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 14' 15.40", W 105° 09' 09.92" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Mariquita Peak lies north of De Anza Peak B in the southern Sangre de Cristo. While the De Anza summit appears to lie within the boundaries of the Cielo Vista Ranch, Mariquita Peak does not according to the map source we have. Mariquita is not on government land however and hence, is privately owned. A portion of the peak may be a part of the Forbes-Trinchera Blanca Ranch which is now owned by Louis Bacon. Much of that land has been placed into a "conservation easement" managed by US Fish & Wildlife. We do not currently know if the current property owners allow access to Mariquita, therefore climb this peak at your own risk. Accessed from either the north or the south along the central ridge joining all these peaks on the El Valle quad, Mariquita is a Class 2 summit with a moderately rocky approach from either direction. 4WD is advised for access either from Whiskey Pass or the Purgatoire Campground and FR 437. You can learn more about this area at the following links, one of which contains some interesting history of the area. The third link leads to a page where you can select a pdf link to a map of both the northern and southern sections of the ranch. Lidar data reduced the elevation 7 feet.




Mariquita Peak via Whiskey Pass Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Culebra/Whiskey Pass Accesses - Cielo Vista: 8mi / 2,815'
  • Trailhead
    • Culebra/Whiskey Pass Accesses - Cielo Vista TH

      The Cielo Vista Ranch (translation - "View of Heaven") was previously known as the Taylor Ranch. Total acreage of the property now exceeds 83,000. Be advised that as of August 2017, the ranch property changed hands again and is now under the ownership of William B. Harrison, of William Harrison Cathexis Holdings. Any information provided here may change dramatically depending on any future new ownership. The eastern boundary of the property is the central ridge of the Sangre de Cristo range from De Anza Peak in the north all the way to State Line Peak on the New Mexico border to the south. All of the land on either side of that central ridge is privately owned from Maxwell Mountain on south. Trespassers have been and will be prosecuted. As of the date of this writing, the only property owner allowing access is/was the Cielo Vista Ranch. One newspaper report indicated that the new owner did not plan to change the access policies previously held by the Cielo Vista ranch owners, but there have been some changes that do impact climbers. The property is a virtual wildlife preserve, rich in its diversity, and provides needed resources to the local community.

      The main, current website for the ranch is https://www.cielo-vista-ranch.info/product/hiking/. The current site shows a 2024 update. Norton antivirus software wants to block this site as "dangerous." From our personal experience, there appears to be no danger in visiting the site. This is as of 01/2024. Mailing address is: Cielo Vista Ranch; County Road M.5; San Luis, CO 81152. Email contact: [email protected]. Phone: 719-680-0092. (Carlos)

      Some items to know up front. Again, these were verified 01/2024:

      • There is no climbing allowed from August 1 through the end of December.
      • The current fee to climb Culebra/Red Mtn. is $150. For any other summits, it has been reported this season that the fee has increased to $500.
      • Winter climbs begin in January with reservations being taken in December.
      • Hiking/climbing is allowed only on Friday-Saturday-Sunday.
      • A waiver and credit card form must be submitted in advance.
      • The gate opens at 6:00 AM and closes at 6:15 AM!
      • Sign out is 6:00 PM. Beyond that time, ranch officials will consider your tardiness to warrant a search & rescue situation. You will be instructed to "donate" $100 to the Costilla County SAR.
      • Dogs & non-climbers are not allowed.
      • Climbing reservations for the 2024 are currently being accepted.

      Since all climbers must report to the main ranch headquarters, that location will serve as the main trailhead, however, Whiskey Pass can also serve as a trailhead, after you have registered at ranch headquarters and current policy ALLOWS access from that location. We will divide access as follows: Use the main ranch entrance and the 4WD road up to "four-way" as the TH for Purgatoire, UN13,466, Vermejo, Red Mtn., Culebra, UN13,565, UN13,229 and Miranda. Use Whiskey Pass as the TH for Lomo Liso, Francisco, Beaubien, De Anza and Mariquita. (Note that Mariquita is not actually on CV Ranch property.) We also have a report that indicates some climbers were allowed access up Carneros Creek to climb UN13,229 and UN 13,565. We have no specific information however in regards to that access. Also, for peaks other than Culebra and Red Mountain, Cielo Vista has required climbers to have a hand radio which the ranch supplied. DO NOT ASSUME that current policy allows access to summits other than Culebra and Red. Call or email ahead to obtain additional information.

      Driving Directions: From the small town of Ft. Garland, located on HWY 160 east of Alamosa and west of Walsenburg, drive south on HWY159 to San Luis - about 15.5 miles.

      Turn left on the P.6 Road (4th street) and drive 4.0 miles to Chama.
      In Chama, turn left on L.7 Road.
      Drive 3.5 miles on L.7, across a bridge and immediately turn right on dirt Road 25.5. To access Whiskey Pass, you would continue east on L.7.
      Go 1/2 mile on 25.5 Road, stop, and turn left on M.5 Road.
      Drive another 0.9 miles to reach the North Gate of the Cielo Vista Ranch.
      The gates are usually closed and ranch representatives will meet you for an escort to the ranch headquarters.
      Once through the north HQ gate, continue 2 miles to the ranch headquarters for check-in.
      After check-in, reset your odometer and drive on an easy 4WD road to the upper trailhead. Stay right at about .1 mile and continue driving up the steepening road.
      You will reach "Four Way" at 3.4 miles with ample parking, 11,220 ft. N 37° 08' 32.23" W 105° 13' 57.08"
      You may be allowed to continue on to the highest point of the road at 4.4 miles. This is the upper trailhead and you may park near a stream. 11,670 ft. N 37° 08' 20.38" W 105° 12' 56.72"

      The following directions are provided by the Cielo Vista Ranch on their website:

      Find San Luis, Colorado. Begin in San Luis, at the Conoco station on main street. You will be driving southbound from Ft. Garland. At the Conoco Station, turn east (left). Drive 3 miles to stop sign. Right turn onto County Road 21. Traveling southbound on CR 21, proceed to County Road L.7. Left turn on L.7, you will be driving eastbound. Continue on CR L.7 to one of several county roads which go south from L.7. (Note that CR L.7 is also the "Whiskey Pass Road.") Each of these short roads will take you to County Road M.5, which parallels L.7, about 200 yards to 500 yards south. Take one is these roads (CR 22.5, 23.5, etc.) south to CR M.5. Left turn on M.5 sends you east. Continue east on M.5 until you reach the large heavy green steel gate, which is the entrance to the North headquarters of Cielo Vista Ranch. Watch for local dogs which are roaming the streets and county roads in the area, at will!

      To get to the Whiskey Pass road, once you have reported to ranch headquarters, reverse these directions back to CR L.7 which is the Whiskey Pass Road and head east. The road is drivable by 4WD to about 11,500 feet as reported by Dave Hahn. Once you are back onto this road, the distance to the end of the road will be over 10.5 miles. An overnight camp was allowed. Dave also reported that when he drove to Whiskey Pass in his own vehicle, he was accompanied by ranch personnel driving another vehicle. When you are done climbing peaks off Whiskey Pass, you will need to return to ranch headquarters to report out. This is all PRIVATE PROPERTY. Do not go without permission.

      The following link has some interesting history regarding this overall area:



      Unless the ranch owners grant permission to camp on their property somewhere (which is unlikely), there is no close camping available, however, they do state on their website that climbers may camp just outside the main gate if needed.

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Mariquita Peak via Whiskey Pass

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2004

    Please Note: Mariquita Peak is on private land on both the east and west sides. The peak is not included in the holdings for the Cielo Vista Ranch. As best as we can tell, the west side of the peak likely belongs to the Trinchera Blanca Ranch, another vast holding, owned by Louis Bacon now and includes a conservation easement managed by the US Fish & Wildlife. This easement does not open the land to public access. The property owners still maintain all rights to who accesses their property. Apparently only "paying" customers (read: hunters, wedding parties, etc.) are welcome. At the time of this writing, we have no information on the property owners on the east side of the peak. The two closest vehicle accesses to Mariquita are the Whiskey Pass Road on the west and FR437 on the east. If you use the Whiskey Pass access, you will need permission from the Cielo Vista Ranch to drive back in there and will likely be charged a steep fee. While the road to the pass and the pass itself along with De Anza Peak are on their property, Mariquita is not, so they cannot technically grant permission to hike Mariquita. To contact the Trinchera Blanca Ranch, try: [email protected] or call 719-379-3263.

    One-way and round-trip mileage and elevation gain are measured from a start at 11,500 west of Whiskey Pass and includes elevation gain over De Anza and a return back over De Anza to get back to your vehicle.

    If approaching from the Whiskey Pass Road on the Cielo Vista, from the vehicle park on the Whiskey Pass Road at 11,520 ft., you can continue walking on the old roadbed up past two switchbacks and through open trees to where the road comes against the slopes directly below the pass. Then ascend for a steep 1,000 feet on the best route you can find, avoiding minor rock bands and across talus & scree to the pass. Class 2+. From the pass, head north along the ridge crest. As you gain the soft rank 12er summit of 12,955, there will be some minor low cliffs to avoid and the ascent will be mostly rocky until you begin to level out on the south end of UN12,955. Walk on across the easy, dual summit, descend north to the next saddle and then continue to the summit of De Anza on mostly "thin" tundra with small embedded rock. Class 2. From the summit of De Anza, it's a little over another mile to Mariquita. It's easy tundra walking to Pt. 12,925, then becomes a rockier traverse from there to the summit of Mariquita, still Class 2. As with all the peaks in this area, wildlife is abundant.

    An alternate way to climb De Anza from the vehicle park on the Whiskey Pass Road would be to head NNE up the broad, west shoulder/ridge of UN12,955. This route would avoid the talus and scree of the direct ascent to Whiskey Pass and offer more of an easier tundra ascent. Once on the main north-south ridge, continue as described above.

    Additional BETA

    Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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