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 Gators is a family oriented, educational facility that focuses on full use of natural and recycled resources. Our goal is to maintain an integrated ecosystem while providing educational opportunities and viable farm products.The History of Colorado Gators Erwin and Lynne Young moved from Post, Texas to Alamosa, Colorado in September, 1974 with their four children, Mark, Mike, Sherri, and Jay. Erwin learned of the geothermal water resources available in the Valley and wanted to grow Tilapia, an African perch that requires warm water and is very good to eat.In 1977 they purchased the 80 acre farm that is now Colorado Gators Reptile Park. It wasn't until 1987 that they purchased 100 baby alligators to dispose of dead fish and the remains of filleted fish.Those baby gators grew quickly in the warm geothermal water (87° F) and the locals wanted to see them, so we opened to the public in 1990. Soon we were in the spotlight of many media programs and articles. Individuals with overgrown alligators and other reptiles such as large pythons, tortoises, iguanas, and more started dropping them off with us.We have become a sanctuary for unwanted exotic pets and we care for them as best we can. We display them for the public to understand the dangers in owning these pets and we take them to schools for educational programs.
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad excursion train rides take you through breathtaking mountain valleys and passes through charming and historic western towns from the heart of the San Luis Valley. See Colorado's unspoiled territory as it was centuries ago. Relive the golden age of railroads and discover a Colorado few get to see.Excursion trains offer a great seat any day of the week. Pick the class of service and prepare to discover a ride full of train history, mining tales, wildlife sightings, and geology. Come see why USA Today named the RGSRR a Top Ten Ride. For a truly memorable experience buy a ticket aboard the Rails and Ales Brewfest or enjoy a concert like no other atop La Veta Pass at the Fir Amphitheatre. . Regular season runs Memorial Day Weekend through the end of October.
The Sand Dunes Swimming Pool staff strives to give our guests a relaxing and therapeutic swimming experience. We focus on providing a family-friendly atmosphere that is open year-round!We have a large pool that sits right around 98 degrees year round and a 25 person hot tub that we keep at 107 degrees. We offer a kids' water slide, volleyball, basketball, and more all right here!Sand Dunes Recreation also offers our on-site restaurant, Mile Deep Grille, with a variety of options for every taste.
Contact our office for the special discount for anyone camping at our KOA!
Built in 1880, the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a proud remnant of the spirit that won the west. It's path through steep passes and deep gorges is the stuff of adventure novels--taking passengers on the ride of lifetime.C&TS offers daily round-trip train excursions by Steam Engine. All train excursions are narrated by passionate volunteers who describe our unique history, scenery and machinery!
2015 Season May 23rd - October 15, 2015
Antonito, Colorado-Chama, New Mexico
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.
The views of the valley and the Sand Dunes are fantastic from Zapata Falls, and there are four miles of well-marked hiking and mountain biking trails below the parking area. Access into the mountain peaks and wilderness area is also available on Forest Service Trail #852 beginning in the parking area. This trail follows South Zapata Creek to South Zapata Lake. There are several ruins of cabins along the trail to view.The falls are particularly impressive in winter when it freezes into a sculpture of ice. In both fall and summer, the water is cold and the rocks can be slippery, so use good judgment as to whether or not you are up to the challenge. Even in the summer, air temperatures inside the alcove can be cool, so bring a jacket.
Access Zapata Falls from Highway 150, 12 miles north of the intersection with highway 160. Turn right at the sign and travel three miles on the dirt road to the parking area.
Humans aren't the only ones that find the valley a heavenly sanctuary. Every year tens of thousands of migratory birds and other wildlife make their home in and around the valley, and our area's three wildlife refuge centers are a terrific spot for viewing.Between the valley's three wildlife refuges lay more than 100,000 acres of wetlands and nutrient-rich habitat perfect for grazing, roosting, feeding and playing by native and migrating wildlife, including loons, pelicans, herons, egrets, swans, hawks, eagles, falcons, sandpipers, owls, and twice a year in fall and spring, as many as 20,000 sandhill cranes.Our migrating sandhill crane population is so prolific, in fact, the city of Monte Vista established the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival more than two decades ago to celebrate the birds and provide educational and photography opportunities for birders and other wildlife lovers. The festival draws thousands of people to the valley each year in March. These areas are perfect for easy walks.
Cattails Golf Course, located on the northern edge of Alamosa along the banks of the Rio Grande River, offers the golfer perfect temperatures, clear skies, and a well kept links style course with spectacular mountain range views. This beautiful course is lined with majestic cottonwoods and many natural wetlands filled with cattails. This is the perfect place to get away and enjoy a relaxing round of golf.
Cattails Golf Course amenities include:
18 Holes - par 71 - 6,517 yards
Driving range and putting green
Full service golf shop
Cart and club rentals