“Gateway to the Great Sand Dunes” – Alamosa is the largest town in the San Luis Valley with a population of around 10200 people. The downtown section is lined with historic shops, restaurants, and bars.
Like most of Colorado, Alamosa has a sunny climate, but it can get very cold there. In fact, in winter it can record some of the coldest temperatures for a town in the state. During any season it makes a great base for exploring the region’s many, unusual attractions.
The county seat of Alamosa County resides at 7,543 feet of elevation. As the biggest town in the San Luis Valley, it has garnered the nickname: “Hub of the San Luis Valley”. There is a college in town, Adams State University, which enrolls around 3,701 undergraduate and graduate students.
The town was incorporated on August 12, 1878, and established only a few months earlier in May 1878. They say it was named for the cottonwood trees that inhabit the banks of the nearby Rio Grande River.
Rio Grande Scenic Railway – This historic railroad hosts a slew of exciting trips through southern Colorado, including concert trains, dinner rides, and winter excursions.
Great Sand Dunes – On a clear day you can see them from town. This national park boasts fun hikes, good camping and a one-of-a-kind experience.
Read about the top things to do in Alamosa.
- Local San Luis State Wildlife Area and nearby Great Sand Dunes both offer well-maintained campgrounds year-round for a fee.
- A few miles south on Hwy 150 from Great Sand Dunes are the Zapata Falls. Free to explore and a nice campground which is cheaper than the above national and state parks. There are 20 or so campsites and a couple of RV spots. There is a sign along Hwy 150 indicating the entrance. The road from there is about 4 miles and also a bumpy, rocky ride.
- Read about the camping near Alamosa and the San Luis Valley.
- The San Luis River passes by the town.
- The Smith Reservoir is located 25 miles east of town in Blanca. Take US 160 east for 19 miles to Airport Rd. Follow that for a few miles to the lake.
- Hike to the top of the Sand Dunes.
- Read about the best hiking trails near Alamosa.
Hotels and lodging:
- Read about the best hotels in Alamosa.
Jan – Rio Frio Ice Fest – Combing an Ice Festival with the Rio Frio 5K Race on Ice, it’s a party in one of Colorado’s coldest places, held in late January over three days.
Activities near Alamosa
Cross Country Skiing:
- Best Western Movie Manor (20mi)
- Alamosa Wildlife Refuge
- Baca Wildlife Refuge (32mi)
- Great Sand Dunes National Park (27mi)
- Great Sand Dunes Wilderness Area
- Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge (20mi)
- Rio Grande National Forest
- Rio Grande River
- San Luis Halls WSA (28mi)
- Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area
- South Zapata Lake (29mi)
- Uptop Historic District (59mi)
- Joyful Journey Hot Springs (49mi)
- Sand Dunes Pool (23mi)
- Splashland Hot Springs (1mi)
- Valley View Hot Springs (57mi)
- Los Caminos Antiguos Byway (<1mi)
State Wildlife Areas:
- Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area (42mi)
- San Luis State Wildlife Area (21mi)
- Smith Reservoir SWA (25mi)
- Antonito (28mi)
- Blanca (20mi)
- Bountiful (18mi)
- Capulin (22mi)
- Center (28mi)
- Chama, CO (45mi)
- Conejos (28mi)
- Crestone (49mi)
- Del Norte (31mi)
- Fort Garland (25mi)
- Hooper (19mi)
- La Garita (40mi)
- La Jara (14mi)
- La Veta (59mi)
- Manassa (24mi)
- Moffat (37mi)
- Monte Vista (17mi)
- Mosca (13mi)
- Romeo (22mi)
- Saguache (52mi)
- San Luis (40mi)
- Sanford (18mi)
- South Fork (48mi)
- Villa Grove (54mi)
- Walsenburg (72mi)
- Zapata Falls (29mi)
- Colorado Gator Farm (17mi)
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