Located in south central Colorado and surrounded by the dramatic Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges, Alamosa is the San Luis Valley’s largest town, with a population of 10,000. Alamosa serves as the valley’s cultural and economic center, and is the departure point for the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad.
Centrally located near attractions and recreation opportunities for all ages, Alamosa offers visitors a range of lodging, dining and entertainment throughout the year. In town, Main Street offers pubs, cafes, coffee shops and retail shops, which are just a short walk from the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad’s depot. The mighty Rio Grande winds through town and alongside picturesque Cole Park, a great spot for a sunset walk after a day on the train.
Alamosa hosts exciting events year-round, including “Summerfest on the Rio,” the “Early Iron Festival,” a “Sundays at Six” concert series in the park, a spring ArtWalk, historic tours, Fourth of July festivities, theater and musical performances, local Farmer’s Market events, and more.
La Veta , Colorado
Tucked away in the La Cuchara Valley below the twin Spanish Peaks, the tiny art town of La Veta may be one of the last, best undiscovered spots in Colorado. The marriage of scenic beauty, rich history and a charming town center with shopping, galleries and dining make it easy to see how this area became a haven for artists many years ago.
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad provides round-trip service to La Veta, with a two-hour stopover for lunch and shopping before returning to Alamosa.
The San Luis Valley
Boasting more than 8,000 square miles within its borders, the world’s largest and highest inhabited alpine valley is home to some of the most spectacular scenery and outdoor recreation in the west. Surrounded by mountains on all sides, many of them among the highest peaks in the continental U.S., the valley itself is a colorful collage of agricultural land, prairie grasses, meadows, sweeping foothills and quaint, historic towns dating back to the mid-to-late 1800s.
Six unique counties offer visitors an array of experiences, from the adventurous to the historic, to the downright rejuvenating. Thriving in its geographic isolation, the valley’s natural attractions include numerous hot springs, world-class mountain climbing, the Rio Grande and Conejos rivers, protected wetlands, national forests and recreation areas and perhaps its most famous attraction: the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Rippling across a large section of the valley’s northeastern edge, the dunes are a dynamic, shape-shifting natural wonder unlike any other in our part of the country. At more than 700 feet high at their highest point, these are the tallest sand dunes in North America, and unlike many impressionable displays of nature, can be hiked up, climbed on, rolled down, played with and otherwise available for fully immersed interaction, making it a vast playground for kids and adults alike.
Other valley attractions include the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, the Colorado Alligator Farm and Reptile Park, the UFO Watchtower, three wildlife refuges, numerous museums and historical sites, relaxing fishing holes, lakes and reservoirs, hundreds of miles of hiking trails, two scenic byways, numerous theaters, galleries, festivals and more.
Whether you’re a family in search of a fun getaway, a honeymooning couple, a solo traveler, or a group looking for a unique venue, there’s no shortage of memories to be made in the magical, moody San Luis Valley.