Located just outside the natural beauty of Great Sand Dunes National Park, this small city makes a great base to explore Colorado’s San Luis Valley.
Alamosa is the commercial and tourism hub of Colorado’s San Luis Valley, nestled between mountains and deserts. Experience some of the state’s most beautiful wilderness from this bustling city.
Alamosa is Spanish for “of cottonwood.” Admire these beautiful trees throughout the town and lining the shores of the Rio Grande River that snakes through the region.
In the 1870s, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad brought commerce and a huge population increase to the area. The San Luis Valley History Museum presents the valley’s past, from its original Native American inhabitants and European settlement up until the late 19th century.
Alamosa is home to Adams State University, a small liberal arts college with about 3,500 students. Explore regional art and artifacts at the Luther Bean Museum, located in Richardson Hall on the university’s campus. See Native American pottery, weavings and other pieces of art.
Stop downtown at Firedworks Gallery, a local institution. Whether you are there to shop or just to browse, this contemporary art gallery has a wide variety of pieces on display and is well worth a visit.
Great Sand Dunes National Park is the San Luis Valley’s biggest attraction. Located just 34 miles (54.7 kilometers) outside Alamosa, this park is home to the tallest sand dunes in North America. Go hiking, beach sledding and camping.
See the region’s wildlife at Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. This protected area largely consists of wetlands. Take the short hiking trail to look for birds, deer, coyotes and beavers.
Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a popular bird sanctuary a 25-minute drive from downtown Alamosa. Trails and roads wind through the park. Each spring, visitors flock to the refuge to see scores of migrating sandhill cranes that stop here in their annual trip north.
As primarily desert region, the San Luis Valley gets little precipitation. Temperatures are rarely uncomfortably hot during the summer and it can get very cold a night. Rent a car to get around Alamosa and its surrounds with ease.