In the 1800’s the Spaniards came to the San Luis Valley to explore its riches.
Virginia Simmons in her book, The San Luis Valley: Land of the Six Armed Cross, recounts the legend.
Father Francisco Torres was with the Spanish explorers when he was wounded by a group of Indians who rebelled against the explorers they were traveling with. Padre Torres ran onto San Luis Lake near the San Dunes to flee the attack and got on a raft. As he laid on the raft dying, he watched the setting sun on Mt. Blanca and the surrounding mountains. As the sun hit the mountains, they turned a crimson red and Padre Torres cried out “Sangre de Cristo, Sangre de Cristo” (The Blood of Christ, The Blood of Christ).
This is the legend of how the beautiful mountain range was named.
Read the full story at the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area http://www.sdcnha.org/wp