The San Luis Valley (SLV), (located in South central Colorado and North central New Mexico), is the largest alpine valley in the world. Zebulon Pike was the first white American to cross the Sangre De Cristo Mountains into this 120-mile-long-by-forty-mile wide territory. The four-thousand-square-mile, semiarid desert valley floor sits at an average elevation of 7,600 feet, over a mile and a half above sea level, and averages less than five inches of rainfall per year.
Its entire wishbone shape is ringed by majestic forested mountains on all sides. Along the entire eastern side of the valley stands a solid wall of rock soaring to heights of over fourteen thousand feet–the imposing Sangres de Cristos. The second youngest mountain range in the continental United States, the peaks owe their jagged appearance to their relatively young age. The Valley is also home to the Archuleta Mesa and Dulce, New Mexico; alleged location of an underground base.