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 red dot is Archuleta Mesa just north of Dulce, New Mexico; alleged location of an underground base.
The Great Sand Dunes Wilderness is the world's highest (and probably strangest) dune field. Rising over 700 feet above the valley floor, the age of this 50 square-mile pile of sand is still not precisely known. Official dating puts its age at less than 11,000 years, but it could be older. Some of the earliest traces of man in North America can be found within a few miles of this enigmatic wonder. Man may have visited here before the dunes were formed.