Are you heading out to Alamosa or the Great Sand Dunes this summer or fall? Here are a few fun things to do around Alamosa and places to visit while you’re in the area. Take a three or four day road trip to fully absorb the area’s unique natural qualities and culture.
Great Sand Dunes National Park – Splashing around in Medano Creek is one of the best things to do in Colorado. Period! Great Sand Dunes National Park should not be missed.
Colorado Gator Park – It’s a short drive from Sand Dunes to see the alligators. The place started as a tilapia farm. They brought in gators to get rid of tilapia waste, but the public liked gators…and now it’s a tourist destination.
Stations of the Cross Church (San Luis) – San Luis is an incredible small town. The church is the highlight. This is one of the oldest settlements in Colorado (European that is). This is also the home of the oldest water right in Colorado. It’s a beautiful hike up to the church. San Luis is located about an hour southeast of Alamosa.
Valley View Hot Springs – For a modest entry fee, you can hike around the Orient Land Trust’s property, dip in the Valley View Hot Springs, and use all of the facilities – including restrooms. Valley View Hot Springs is one of Colorado’s finest natural springs. It’s located in the northern end of the valley to the east of Villa Grove. Camping is available with a variety of sites suitable for vehicles (cars, campers, smaller RVs) or tents. Campsites are reserved on weekends from May through mid-October but individual sites are always first-come, first-served. A shared kitchen is available for use by campers and day visitors. A note of caution: the Valley View Hot Springs are naturist hot springs, meaning that clothing is 100% optional.
Restaurants & Breweries
San Luis Valley Brewing Company (Alamosa) – Located right in the heart of Alamosa, the San Luis Valley Brewing Company serves good beer and even better food (Salazar beef, locally grown).
Three Barrel Brewing Company (Del Norte) – Three Barrel has, in my honest opinion, the best beer in the valley. Del Norte is located about 45 minutes to the west of Alamosa and is worth the visit.
Windsor Hotel (Del Norte) – This is a beautiful place to eat lunch or dinner. You can venture over to Three Barrel Brewery after you eat dinner for a nightcap.
Brief Background and History
The San Luis Valley and Alamosa are surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east flank and the San Juan Mountains to the west. The valley is an extensive high-altitude depositional basin in the Colorado with a small portion overlapping into New Mexico, covering approximately 8,000 square miles and sitting at an average elevation of 7,664 feet above sea level. The valley is a section of the Rio Grande Rift and is drained to the south by the Rio Grande River.