Exploring forested trails and meadows on the Oxbow Trails at Rio Grande Farm Park
Wading in the cool waters at the base of Zapata Falls
Mountain and wetland views from Blanca Vista Park
A colorful display over the Rio Grande River from the State Avenue Bridge
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, which tours visitors through mountain passes and Old West towns
Views of Great Sand Dunes National Park and the San Luis Valley from Crestone Peak
A peaceful setting at Blanca Vista Park
Mountain biking in the San Juan Mountains
Biking the Alamosa Loop Trail near Cole Park
Hiking a ridge in Great Sand Dunes National Park
Diving into vast natural wonders in southern Colorado
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
Shifting dunes reach sky-ward against the rugged peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve has the tallest sand dunes in North America. Here, you can make your own adventure and strike out on a new path. There are no designated trails on the dunes, and the park encompasses forests, cottonwood groves and mountains. Local outfitters can supply you with sand sled and sandboard rentals and the ranger station holds various events throughout the year. Hike Mosca Pass for the chance to see local wildlife or, if you want a challenge, climb the tallest dune in North America, Star Dune. And don’t forget your camera; the dunes are a dramatic backdrop for photo ops.
Alamosa’s unique landscape has inspired playful attractions that are fun for all ages. Travel through scenic mountain valley passes and historic western towns on the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad excursion train ride. The train recalls the golden age of railroads and shows off a side of Colorado that many do not experience. For a surprising experience, check out Colorado Gators Reptile Park. It might seem a little out of place, but it’s an important animal refuge for reptiles. Learn about alligators, snakes, tortoises and lizards and find out how the refuge started. If you truly want to seek out the undiscovered, consider climbing the UFO Watchtower. Whether or not you spot a spaceship, the observation platform provides a 360-degree view of the San Luis Valley.
Landscapes like Nowhere Else
Nature-lovers can’t pass up the chance to hike, bike, fish, camp and explore in this ecologically unique landscape. Climb into the alcove that houses Zapata Falls and feel the temperature around you drop. Visit in the winter to see the falls completely frozen into solid ice. For a meditative experience, walk the Stations of the Cross, an outdoor art instillation of bronze sculptures by artist Huberto Maestas. Take a break from the mountains in the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, a nutrient-rich wetland that draws tens of thousands of migratory birds throughout the year. Topping off the wilderness adventures is the sprawling Rio Grande National Forest. It’s comprised of nearly 2 million acres with snowy mountain peaks, deserts, rivers and sub-alpine lakes. Visit in the fall for smaller crowds and colorful fall foliage.