Local Area Attractions
Great Sand Dunes National Monument
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is a United States National Park located in the easternmost parts of Alamosa County and Saguache County, Colorado. The park contains approximately 85,000 acres. The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, rising about 750 feet from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres. The dunes were formed from sand and soil deposits of the Rio Grande and its tributaries, flowing through the San Luis Valley. Over the ages, westerly winds picked up sand particles from the river flood plain. As the wind lost power before crossing the Sangre de Cristo Range, the sand was deposited on the east edge of the valley. This process continues, and the dunes are slowly growing. The wind changes the shape of the dunes daily. http://www.nps.gov/grsa/index.htm
Colorado Alligator Farm
The world famous Rocky Mountain White Tilapia hybrid was developed here. You will see alligators and fish, as well as other native wildlife. Two Mile Creek Wildlife Habitat offers gators in a natural setting, warm water fishing--largemouth bass, catfish and tilapia, boating, nature trail hiking, picnic area, fresh and smoked fish, alligator meat, and gift shop. Open daily except Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. Alamosa KOA sells discount Gator farm tickets! Get your coupon for free gator chow!
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad of Colorado, a heritage railway, began operations in 2006, operating both steam and diesel locomotives in the San Luis Valley. Located 200 miles (320 km) south of Denver, Colorado, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad operates out of Alamosa, Monte Vista and La Veta. The original La Veta line of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad was completed on June 22, 1878; with standard gauge track over La Veta Pass. Historically called the Scenic Line of the World, the train’s connections between Alamosa and La Veta includes views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and several of Colorado’s 14,000-foot (4,300 m) peaks. http://www.riograndescenicrailroad.com/
Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad
The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is hidden away in a little-known corner of the southern Rocky Mountains, and is a precious historic artifact of the American West. Built in 1880 and essentially unchanged since, the C&TSRR is the most outstanding and best known example of steam-era mountain railroading in North America. The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is known around the world for its spectacular scenery, unique machinery, and historic structures. Come, and take a ride. See for yourself. We think you will agree. http://www.cumbrestoltec.com/
San Luis and The Stations of the Cross
The oldest town in Colorado, San Luis is also likely the most spiritual. Populated by the primarily Hispanic families who settled there in 1851, the town remains small and, in some ways, unique. Situated in south central Colorado, not far from the New Mexico border, San Luis boasts the oldest church in Colorado and La Vega, a rare public commons - a place where communal grazing of livestock is allowed. The town is most famous, however, for its Stations of the Cross, a string of bronze statues climbing the mesa adjacent to town. Each station represents a moment during the crucifixion of Christ, and the locale is a Mecca for Christians each Easter. Art aficionados might like to visit the sculptor's studio, located in town at the bottom of the hill.
Zapata Falls and Trail
After climbing the dunes on a hot summer day, refresh yourself at spectacular Zapata Falls. South Zapata Creek has powered its way through a rock crevasse, etching and carving the steep stone walls containing the 30 ft. high waterfall. Listen to the melodic cascading waters; feel the chilling spray of the falls and watch for dippers, dark gray aquatic song birds that feed on water insects. The hike to the falls is approximately 1/2 mile
Blanca Wildlife Habitat Area
When you think of gulls, sandpipers and pelicans, you picture a vacation paradise on an ocean beach, but few people realize there is a salty shore paradise located right here in the San Luis Valley. Flocks of these shorebirds find refuge at the Blanca Wetlands along with the other 158 bird species found there. What appears at first glance to be a salty desert environment with flooded low areas reveals to the more studious observer a plethora of birds, amphibians, mammals, fish, and yes, insects. Wheelchair accessible trails help to make this bird watcher's paradise accessible to all. 11 miles northeast of Alamosa on County Road 2S
Alamosa Wildlife Refuge
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge Alamosa and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) are found in the heart of the Colorado's San Luis Valley. Alamosa NWR includes 11,169 acres of wetlands of various depths and sizes located primarily within the Rio Grande River flood plain. The natural wet meadows, river oxbows, and riparian corridors support high wildlife diversity including songbirds, water birds, raptors, deer, beaver, and coyotes. Getting There . . . The headquarters for both Refuges is located at Alamosa NWR, 4 miles east of the town of Alamosa, Colorado, on Highway 160 and 2 miles south on El Rancho Lane. Monte Vista NWR is located 6 miles south of the town of Monte Vista on Highway 15.