Introduction: A Brief History of Crestone/Baca

As T-Road heads east, it climbs gradually out of the greasewood and rabbitbrush of the San Luis Valley into the cottonwood groves and pinon-juniper woodlands of the Crestone/Baca area. This shift in vegetation is indicative of the changes in elevation and precipitation that occur between the valley center and the hills of Crestone/Baca. At 8,000 feet, Crestone/Baca is only 600 feet higher than the valley center, but it receives almost twice as much precipitation (fourteen inches).

As the elevation climbs further, the vegetation progresses to ponderosa pine forests, aspen glades, spruce-fir forests, and finally alpine tundra on the high peaks.

The first inhabitants of the area were the Ute, probably around 1500 A.D. Small family groups of the Capote band traveled through the San Luis Valley each summer as they hunted deer, elk, and antelope and gathered seeds, fruits, and berries. These nomadic people spent their winters in areas that are now in northern New Mexico and Arizona.

Comanche nomads also visited the San Luis Valley before it was settled by Spanish and American farmers and ranchers. Through contact with the Spanish to the south, the Comanche obtained horses, which allowed them to make raids on Ute and other settlements. As farming and ranching began in the valley, conflict between the new settlers and the Ute and Comanche developed. After many Comanche were massacred in Pueblo in 1783, the Comanche signed a peace treaty with the Spanish and left the valley. The Ute remained in the valley until they were forced out in the mid-1800s.

In 1823, Mexico granted 600,000 acres of land near what is now Los Vegas, New Mexico, to Juan Maria Cabeza de Baca. The grant was one of several that were made in an effort to secure claims against the governments of Texas and The United States. In 1860, the original Baca Grant in New Mexico was traded for several hun- dred-thousand-acre grants, including the Luis Maria Baca Grant Number Four, which lies just south of Crestone, surrounding the Baca Grande development.

You will find more info in the Actual Crestone guide


About / Baptist Church / Community Center / Desert Sage / Spiritual Life Institute / Ziggurat
History / Information Kiosk / Episcopal Church / Colorado Collage /
Heidikanda Universal Ashram
Sanctuary House / Maps / Town of Crestone / Early Log Cabins / Aurobindo learning center / Mtn Zen Center
Little Stupa
/ White Eagle / General Store / Town Hall / Gomang Stupa / Stone Huts / Willow Lake / Golf Course
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Business listings / Crestone Guide / Events / Real Estate / Main Page / Artisans Market

Edited by Lynda Kucin

Illustrated by James Joseph Roderick

The Way Productions, Crestone Colorado

The full guide may purchased through Jimmy or Lynda for $10.00 plus shipping...

Color photos by Rodney Lee Volkmar
(color photos not part of the guide)