Lake Como (Blanca Pk) Trailhead


Range: Sangre de Cristo
Coordinates: 37.53861, -105.57611
14ers: Blanca Peak, Ellingwood Point, Little Bear Peak
Elevation: 8,000'
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Road Difficulty

Difficult 4WD, requires modified 4WD vehicle (not stock) 6   (0=Paved, 6=Very Difficult 4WD)
2WD to 8,000' on the Lake Como Road.
Moderate 4WD to approx. 8,800', just inside the USFS forest boundary.
Rough 4WD to approx. 10,000' but very limited parking.
Severe 4WD above 10k to reach Lake Como.

Driving Directions

From Colorado 160, east of Alamosa, turn north onto Colorado 150 toward Great Sand Dunes National Park. Drive over 3 miles and turn right onto Lake Como road (aka Blanca Peak road). The type of vehicle you are driving will determine how high you can park. Most cars can drive about 1.5 miles up before it gets rough. 4WD SUVs and trucks can slowly make it 3.25 miles to several pull-offs at 8,800', before the road turns nasty. This is a popular parking spot and gets you within 4 miles of Lake Como. If you have a high-clearance, small, 4WD vehicle you might be able to drive to 10,000' but you'll find very few places to park. An ATV, UTV or modified jeep/crawler can get to Lake Como, depending on the driver.

Winter Access

Closed at or below 8,800 feet.

More Info

Restrooms? No
Fees? No
Trailhead added by BillMiddlebrook
Status Updates 
Posted By: bryanpeck3
Info: Pretty much clear. A couple short stretches of snow at the top.
Posted By: interloper
Info: I hiked as far as Camp Commodore and encountered practically no snow prior to this point. After Camp Commodore / Jaws 1, the trail quickly became completely snow covered. I turned around here, but based on the snowmelt and weather patterns here in the SLV, I imagine that the road to Lake Como will likely be completely dry within the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Road conditions:

The straight baby-head section between 7800’ and 8600’ seems looser than in previous years, very unsettled rock. There are very large ruts at the very start of the baby-head section that may deter some from wanting to go further. There is also a severely rutted-out section that prevented me from going further than 8500’, but anyone that can should definitely try to go to at least to the relatively ’flat’ section around 9600’ as there are some good pull-offs up there. The switchback at 9800’ is severely eroded with exposed rock slabs and I would not recommend trying to go past it without skid plates / armor. As always, the switchback at 10,000’ is the last place most sane drivers will want to stop.
Posted By: JasonCrane
Info: I parked at 7.8k feet & booted Lake Cuomo Road up to almost 11k, 4.5 miles each way. Lake Cuomo Road is 2WD to about 7.7k, where the road deteriorates into a bed of baseball-sized rocks. Road is dry and/or patchy snow up to 9k. Above 9k, there’s about 2 feet of snow. A foot trail is trenched up past the relic log cabins to where I turned around at ~11k. Due to storm clouds & severe winds, I opted not to continue higher. Saw a Suburb Outback made it a ways up the road parked at one of those switchbacks near 9k feet.
Posted By: yared0319
Info: My AWD Honda Element made it to 8300 ft, though a standard AWD vehicle / truck with a little more clearance could have made it to 9000-9500ft. Road was dry to 9500ft.
Posted By: Dignus
Info: Lane 6N closed. I had the misfortune of coming ftom the south then heading north for my hike, so I was not aware until I arrived. Signs near junction of 160 only indicate "weight limit." Turns out the limit is 0 pounds. Gotta take the long way around if approaching from the north.
Posted By: daway8
Info: Forgot just how obnoxious the baby head rocks along the first few miles are - went to 8,700ft and then couldn’t stand getting shaken to death anymore so pulled over and day hiked the peaks of interest. The Mud Holes just above the 10,200ft parking/camping area had a decent amount of water in them. Jaws 2 had a small amount of flowing water around it. Most of the rest of the road relatively dry. Surprisingly few vehicles along the way first thing Friday morning (despite the holiday weekend) but there’s been a steady stream of people driving up tonight (surprised to have reception out here).
Posted By: CommanderDawn
Info: Aired down to 16psi and drove 2000 Wrangler with 2in lift up to 10,200 to camp for the (Sunday) night. The worst part of the road to that point was at the lower trailhead near 8800 and above 9700 after the sharp left switchback. Most of the switchbacks below 10k were occupied but my vehicle was alone above 10k for the day. Only about ten people on all three peaks observed.
Posted By: Pedro F
Info: Drove a stock Wrangler up to the switchback at 9,850’. Could have gone further based on the Wrangler’s capabilities but this was a rental with road tires and we didn’t want to risk blowing out a tire. Room for 3-4 vehicles to park at this switchback. An F150 and an Explorer (both stock) ended up parking there as well. A Wrangler, Bronco, and Tundra that were each lifted with with off-road tires made it up to the lake.
Posted By: quebow03
Info: Drove up Lake Como road in a stock F-150 SuperCrew 4x4 with factory skid plates (FX4) and highway tires. The road is tame for the first mile or two. My odometer said we made it 4.7 miles from beginning of the trail head. That last mile or so was pretty nasty but if you’re careful and have reasonable truck clearance you can make it just fine. My biggest concern was having a blowout on that road which would have been a huge pain. Every bit you can drive up this road saves you the PAIN of hiking that MISERABLE rock trail. We parked the truck at about 9,800 ft. Only saw one other vehicle parked higher which was a slightly lifted 4 Runner.
Posted By: E_A_Marcus_949
Info: Stock 2011 Jeep Rubicon made it up to Jaws 1 with plenty of slow driving and obstacle avoidance; parked right below Jaws 1. Jaws 1 is around 10,450. Be on the lookout for pullouts, though, for any oncoming traffic either way (minimal but there). A few large puddles with rock obstacles about 0.2-0.3 mi before Jaws 1. About 1hr, 20 min up and similar on the way down, though we were going slow and cautious. All clear of snow - enjoy the rolling rocks and obstacles.

Don’t blow a tire, though (we stopped to help someone on the way down - luckily he was by a pullout though). Other vehicles we saw higher up: lifted 4Runner, lifted and modified Tundra (past Jaws 1 surprisingly), side-by-sides, Tacoma, other jeeps. Most made it to around 9800-10k.

Plenty of mosquitos around the lake and even slightly higher.
Posted By: cloudkicker
Info: Just a status update for the bugs. As of right now the mosquitoes arent as bad as theyve been in past years at Lake Como. We used hardly any DEET and I didnt need a head net or protection.

Late June 2018 they were unbearable at the lake.
Mid June 2021 (Willow Lake TH) also had unbearable swarming bugs.
Mid June 2022 (Lake Como) the bugs are (so far) not terrible.
Posted By: Noodles
Info: Made the drive up Lake Como Road today. Any car can make it ~1.5 miles up the road. After this point, the roads quality degrades quickly. You’ll know you’re at this point when the road gets noticeably rockier and turns from a brown sand color into a light grey/white color.
Posted By: 14ercooper
Info: Road was completely dry up to a bit past the "Blanca Peak Road" sign that’s about 4 miles from the lake. About as bumpy of a drive as usual to the 4WD "parking" that’s ~3 miles up the road.
Pretty snow covered the last few miles to the lake, though it does seem to be slowly melting out.
Posted By: Eagle Eye
Info: Monday Dec13th I drove 3.23 miles of the Lake Como road, which is 8858 ft. (This is the area shown in photo 6 of the photos above, often considered an upper 4WD TH) There had been only a little bit of snow on the road up to that point, all minor and within .2 miles. On the steep road leaving this area, there are several fairly level spots on the right (south side) of the road to back into, just big enough to park. That’s where I parked. There were tire tracks in snow on the road for probably another 1.4 miles, to 4.6 miles and 9842 ft. This is another good spot to park (and the highest I’ve ever driven up the road) in a wide space and curve in the road. I don’t recall seeing a large rock at 10.1 K, discussed in a forum thread that could be an obstacle. The Jaws 2 area seemed to be particularly torn-up to me, where the memorial plaque is.
Much travel during the summer? may have taken the previously level bottom rocks out of the road there, and it leans downward in a cliff-like area. The creek crossing at 10.7 K that washed out (photos shown below in an 8/6/21 Trailhead Conditions) might be another NEW! "jaws-type" obstacle for those driving the road; the creek crossing part is fine but its a big drop-off to reach it! There was very little water flowing through it now, and it was very easy on this (hiking) trip through. I hope this update is helpful and noticed the last report was from August. cheers, Mike Via
Posted By: sctbke
Info: Found some old Toyota keys on the road - looks like theyve been there a bit, dm me if you want them back!

Road is as described but is no joke. Extremely rough and made mostly of loose boulders. Got my 07 Honda Pilot to the steep hill around 9000. Lowered tire pressure for it. Most vehicles with a true low range could make it to around 10,000 at the tight left switchback with the big rock obstacle. After that road gets much rougher and tighter.

Ended up getting high centered on a rock on the way down, had to build some rock ramps to get out, and had to do some emergency trail repairs as the rock bent some sheet metal in the undercarriage into the drive shaft and caused rubbing. Immediately after that there was a Jeep rollover around 2.5 or 3 miles up the road. Not sure what the cause was, but not a good situation. You can get a standard SUV up the road a good distance, but be prepared for an adventure, and choose lines carefully!
Posted By: Mitsugi
Info: Don’t even bother trying to drive it unless you have spend many thousands on lifted vehicle suspension.

Nomination for worst walk in the rockies. This road is a pretty bad time.

This creek crossing people are discussing seems to be resolved as many Jeeps made it to the Lake.
Posted By: Sgranteed
Info: Creek crossing just after JAWS 1 is completely washed out with a new JAWS formation to get past. A few men and their kids threw rocks in the hole for 1.5 days and made a bridge wide enough for them to get atvs down and across, but it is almost not wide enough for a jeep or truck tog we down and through.

This new JAWS formation was impassable for any vehicles, Jeeps/trucks, and only saw 2 atvs go past in and they were scared they werent going to be able to get back up it. Definitely needs some drastic work done before getting past that section now.
Posted By: GordoByrn
Info: Parked at 8800. Nissan Rogue AWD was there.
I’ll attach a pic of the parking area at ~10k.
Creek crossing at 10.7k was chugging this morning. Forded both ways. Tons of water above this point. I’ll post a pic looking up 7a and looking down 2p. Water level is falling but check the down pic to see the wash out. No idea what this normally looks like. 1st time in the Sangres. No vehicles were above it.
Got back to 8800 to find the Rogue was replaced with an Outback. Some of y’all got driving skills!
Nice day out there. Had Ellingwood to myself, then passed a couple at the trail junction and had Blanca all alone.
Posted By: mtgoatmike
Info: Drove up the road in my stock 2012 SR5 Tacoma to the "beware of bears" sign (upper trailhead parking?) Was traveling solo, so no spotter and didn’t know what the road had in store past this point. Could have driven further up the road roughly one more mile or so, saw a stock Tacoma and Silverado 1/2 mile or so up, plenty of pull-offs for parking.
Posted By: ButterDips12
Info: There is no snow left to Lake Como; I made it up to 10,100ft. I am an experienced driver and had a good spotter. Scratched up my clear coat pretty good on tree branches and bent my lower plastic front bumper. Also hit my step rails a few times. Going to 10,100ft will take a toll on your vehicle. It is a gnarly road for sure.
Posted By: globreal
Info: The road is dry all the way to 10,250’ even last several snow storms last week. There is a pull-out here which has room for many vehicles and several camp spots. This is right before where the road has the big downhill section. If you have a good 4x4 you can dry this far and save yourself a lot of walking.
Posted By: aksean22
Info: The road is mostly snow free through the switchbacks to 10,000’. Snow is patchy from there to the river crossing, and continuous the rest of the way to the lake.
Posted By: angry
Info: At ~8840ft, there is space for two vehicles to park (one each on either side of the road). About 100ft higher there is space for one vehicle.
Posted By: weswood
Info: Once you turn on the road to Lake Como there is definite snow approximately 6"-1’ of snow en route. Would expect more to compile as winter continues. Largest obstacle was the large rocks on road. Made it to ~8300’ in 2016 Subaru Forester Sport. Could have probably gone up a little higher and driver wished we stopped lower coming down. As passenger had to hop out a few times on way back down to move larger rocks off to side. Once past 9’800 there is significantly more snow.
Posted By: Green_river
Info: This video gives an excellent example of Jaws 1 and 2.
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