Sangre de Cristo Ranches: Fort Garland, CO Mountain Paradise

After Forbes Inc. developed this region, thousands flocked from the cities to this majestic mountain oasis beginning in 1971.

Excluding common land, the Sangre de Cristo Ranches are situated on 51,536 acres in the center of the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, just east of Fort Garland. An unincorporated community in Costilla County, this land is covenant-protected. With roads maintained by both the county and state, most properties are permanently accessible throughout the year. In addition, U.S. Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 159 are nearby, to give you access to city amenities, if you can bear to leave your rural paradise, that is.

These sprawling acres rise high into the mountains of the Trinchera and Mount Blanca, and sprinkle vegetation ranging from sage brush and piñon at the lower elevations to Aspen and various tall pine along elevations exceeding 9,000 feet. You will be surrounded by acres of mountain land just waiting to be explored.

Here are some answers to your most pressing questions:

Why would I want to own land here? What’s it like?

Whether you’re looking for wide open spaces, fresh air free from the pollutants of city living, or wildlife of many varieties, Sangre de Cristo Ranches is the perfect place to settle down. With property sizes ranging from 5-20 acres, this secluded subdivision allows you, and your family, to spread out and connect with the great outdoors.

If retiring is your goal, the magnificent views of Mount Blanca offer a picture of peace that many of the retired residents enjoy.

Is it a good investment to own here?

Due to its gentle hills, magnificent scenery, and close proximity to cities, we believe the Sangre de Cristo Ranches will prove to be a good investment.

With Fort Garland only seven miles west of this beautiful land, you will have access to gas stations, a post office and grocery store, and four restaurants.

Just 33 miles from Alamosa, known as the “cultural and economic center of San Luis Valley Ranches” you’ll be within reach of any other needed city amenities. Alamosa provides access to a hospital, various restaurants, a junior college, movie theaters, and shops such as Safeway, City Market, Home Depot, and a Super Walmart.

Photo by: S.C. from Fort Garland

If I buy property here, what can I do?

Hunting is well-supported in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches. Over 5,000 acres of Greenbelt are dedicated to public hunting and recreation. The Sangre de Cristo Ranches are located in Unit 83, which is home to a large population of grouse and elk. The elk population contains approximately 7,000 animals. For more variety, Costilla County is home to deer and antelope. If you are an avid hunter, several parcels above 9,000’ are nestled in the Greenbelt, or right outside the boundary of the Greenbelt.

Hunting licenses

In Colorado, bull licenses for most Game Management Units are sold over the counter (OTC). These OTC licenses are available for Unit 83 for the second and third rifle seasons.

Children 12-17 years old, who possess a hunter education certification, can receive an out-of-state bull license for approximately $104, while adult licenses may cost around $554.

For some DIY tips, and statistics, on hunting in the GMU 83 area, go to the DIY Hunting Maps website.

Visit the following site if you’d like more generalized information on elk hunting.

Note: Shooting is prohibited across roads and within 1/4 mile of occupied residences.

Can I have animals?

Household pets that belong to you are allowed. For other animals, such as horses, cows, and poultry you will need written permission from the owner of the Sangre de Cristo Ranches, according to the covenants.

How will I get my mail?

Postal addresses in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches are served by Fort Garland’s U.S. Post Office (ZIP Code 81133).

What can I build?

One- or two-story homes can be built on these lots. A one-story home must be at least 600 square feet, while a two-story home must be 800 square feet, minimally. When purchasing property, the 5-acre minimum will provide plenty of room to walk through the lush green of spring and early summer.

Accessory structures, such as garages, guesthouses, barns, stables, and greenhouses, are not considered in the minimum square feet for each ranch.

Sangre de Cristo Ranches allows manufactured homes, as long as they were developed after 1975.

After purchasing land in the Sangre de Cristo Ranches, you do not have to build on it. Your lot will be held, indefinitely.

All water, construction, and septic projects must have a permit.

For detailed information on needed permits, refer to the Costilla County Planning and Zoning Department Residential Development Policy and Procedure.

Can I camp here?

Yes, you can camp for 14 days, every three months.

What about RV living?

Long-term RV living requires a Long-Term RV Camping permit, which is valid for 60 days. This permit can be renewed three times. In order to qualify for this permit, you must:

  • Hook your RV to a septic and water system
  • Have either a permitted well or cistern installed
  • Have no violations of County Code or State Statute or Regulation
  • Adhere to the covenants of your property
  • Provide proof that you own the property
  • Get your RV inspected

Long-Term RV living must be less than 180 days per person/RV/parcel in a 12-month period, and can’t be lived in, permanently.

RV occupancy permits are available while building your home. They are valid for 90 days and can be renewed up to 18 months.

Please contact the Costilla County Planning & Zoning offices for additional details at (719) 937-7668.

What about utilities?

Electricity

In many areas, electrical lines are several miles away. Costs related to their installation would be your responsibility as the buyer/owner. Extending lines may cost approximately $5/ft. You will want to contact your contractor to verify pricing.

Xcel Energy provides electricity to the Sangre de Cristo Ranches area. To apply, you must submit a completed application that includes your lot number, unit, and block. Before scheduling an appointment, clearly mark the corners of your lot.

Some affordable alternatives are a generator, or a wind/solar-powered system. The State of Colorado, and Federal government, may provide assistance to install a solar-powered system for your electricity.

Approximately half of all residents have 1-4 solar panels, and others use a battery pack that is backed up by a gasoline generator.

To run freezers and refrigerators, many residents use propane-fueled appliances from reputable companies such as Servel. These appliances are cost-effective and durable.

Water

Residents of Sangre de Cristo Ranches can receive an augmented well permit that will allow you to water a small garden.

Options for water in this area include:

  • Drilling a well
  • Installing a water tank/cistern and getting water delivered

In the Sangre de Cristo Ranches area, average well depths range from 150’-400’, with 300’ cited as the most common average depth. The depth of your well will depend on the specific location of your lot.

Contact a local licensed well drilling contractor for additional information on drill wells in this area.

Resource for free water

As you travel to Alamosa, CO, you can stop at mile markers 241-242, on the North side of Highway 160, to collect drinking water.

Water is also available on the Southeast border in San Luis.

Make sure to bring a trailer and holding tank so you can fill your cistern.

Sewage

A septic system permitted for less than 2,000 gallons per day is assessed by the county. For flows that equal or exceed this amount, you should follow the design review facility approval process. For a standard  septic tank, the amount you need is based on your number of bedrooms. Rough estimates are:

Bedrooms Home Square Footage Tank Capacity
1 or 2 Less than 1,500 750
3 Less than 2,500 1,000
4 Less than 3,500 1,250
5 Less than 4,500 1,250
6 Less than 5,500 1,315

A septic tank that is at least 1,250 gallons, and a leech field system, is required for your cabin or home.

This link will provide information on Colorado’s waste water treatment systems.

Gas

Many residents of SDCR use propane for heating, cooking, and baking. Tanks are delivered by local vendors on a regular basis.

Propane fill-ups and service-related issues are handled through Monte Vista Co-Op.

For a more cost-effective means of heating, some residents use a wood stove as their main heating fuel. Several times a year, “Wood Fest” is held. Residents are given access to private forests where they can cut down dead trees for firewood. For each pickup load, they are charged $10.

Telephone and Internet Services

Blanca Telephone provides both telephone and internet service to the Sangre de Cristo Ranches area. Telephone access includes land lines at lower elevations. The cellular service covers a wide area and usually maintains a good signal.

For high-speed internet through Jade Communications, contact Blanca Telephone.

Visit this website for possible utility provider updates.

What about the HOA?

Joining the Sangre de Cristo Ranch Owners Association (SCRO) is “optional” for residents and landowners. When joining the community, dues are required in the form of a small fee every year.

Benefits of membership include:

  • Voting privileges
  • Access to the Piñon Semi-Annual Newsletter
  • Admission to community-sponsored events
  • Eligibility to assist or become a Board Executive member
  • Frequent updates on changes in the community
  • Annual dinners
  • Participation in Dumpster Days

As a member you will support your land, and community, by providing protection, beautification, and assistance with programs such as Meals on Wheels, Crime Stoppers, County Initiatives, and many other future activities.

To become a member of the SCRO, you are required to complete and submit this form. You can also join the SCRO official Facebook group.

Can I grow food for myself?

Trees, flowers, and a small garden can be grown on your land. Some foods that you can grow are potatoes, garlic, and winter squash. These hardy vegetables hold up to the demands of mountain living.

Where can I find great places to eat?

Both Alamosa and Fort Garland provide a host of restaurants, with excellent reviews, for your enjoyment.

According to TripAdvisor, the highest ranked restaurants include Calvillo’s Mexican Restaurant and The Rubi Slipper. With 560 reviews, averaging 4 stars, Calvillo’s provides an upbeat buffet-style dining experience. It is moderately expensive with gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly dishes. The Rubi Slipper boasts an American Bar, extensive menu that includes burger and fries, friendly staff, fresh ingredients, and a bustling atmosphere.

Fort Garland’s Silver Sage Steakhouse features an upscale atmosphere that has no dress code. With 4.5 stars, its steaks are highly reviewed. Mouthwatering, some would say. Visitors also highly recommend the ribeye.

All Gon Pizza is an affordable restaurant that is known for its Margarita pizza, Navajo Taco, fudge, and homemade salad bar. This 4-star restaurant will be a great addition when you visit Fort Garland.

Here is a link to TripAdvisor’s list of Alamosa and Fort Garland restaurants that will tease your taste buds.

Photo by: S.C. from Fort Garland

What about weather?

The weather varies from dry and hot during the day, and cool during the nights. During June, July, and August there are rainy periods when a monsoon system moves in from Arizona.

Temperatures in Sangre de Cristo Ranches are moderate-cold, ranging from 30-80 degrees Fahrenheit, on average.

Here is a list of the average temperatures by month:

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun
37 41 50 59 69 79
Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
82 79 73 62 48 38

On average, there are 280 sunny days, and approximately 40 inches of snow, per year.

What about other forms of recreation?

Costilla County is home to many reservoirs, which are excellent for fishing and boating. Mountain Home Reservoir, Eastdale Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, and Smith Reservoir have a variety of fish, including walleye, pike, trout, bass, and many other kinds of fish.

If you would like to learn about military history, the Fort Garland Museum is an excellent facility to expand your knowledge. Previously an army fort, many people flock to this museum during Memorial Day for songs and re-enactments, during the legendary three-day festival.

Taos, New Mexico, about an hour and a half to the south, is home to the Taos Ski Valley and Red River for the skiing enthusiast in you.

When you need a luxury skiing experience, an hour drive to Cuchara Valley Resort is more than worth it. This resort offers five chair lifts that will take you to the top of 20 trails. There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced slopes so you can monitor your progress.

For avid outdoorsmen, other attractions include the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Monte Vista and Baca National Wildlife Refuges, the Great Sand Dunes National Park for sand sledding and splashing in Medano Creek, the Colorado Gator Farm with its natural hot springs, and many others.

At Mount Blanca you can push your body to its limits with climbing, hiking, and mountaineering. At 14,345ft, Mount Blanca is excellent for those who dream of scaling the 4th highest peak in Colorado. You can ascend Mount Blanca using the Lake Como—Hwy 150 access point, Huerfano River Valley Access if you are skilled, and Blanca US 160.

If none of these activities catch your fancy, you can also participate in bird watching, mountain biking, snowmobiling, hiking, photography, kayaking, hunting, and golfing. Many of these activities are available in Alamosa.

Can I live here off-grid?

Yes, please discuss this living arrangement with your contractor.

Others who live off-grid enjoy self-sustainability, reduced costs, and an extremely secluded living environment.

Thank you for reading. We hope this information allowed you to easily explore the many facets of the Sangre de Cristo Ranches.logoicon

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