To many American Indians, Mount Blanca is sacred ground. At 14,345 feet — the fourth-highest peak in Colorado — Mount Blanca watches over the sunny community that shares its name. Blanca provides a welcome stop along the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway, a driving tour tying together several small towns, old military forts, Colorado's oldest church and plenty of friendly residents.
Blanca sits just west of the preserved Fort Garland, once commanded by famed frontiersman Kit Carson. Today, visitors can explore the fort's adobe buildings and the parade ground. Permanent exhibits focus on black soldiers in the military and the varied careers — including scout, government courier, Indian agent and soldier — of the legendary Kit Carson.
Visitors passing through Blanca on their way to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve should head to Zapata Falls, where the Sangre de Cristo snowmelt cleaves area rock. Along the same route, the improbably located Colorado Gators Farm shouldn't be missed. Scores of alligators loll in thermal spring-fed 87 degree water, the perfect temperature for these reptiles capable of 30-mph sprints.