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Colorado > Colorado Community Areas > San Luis Valley Area
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San Luis Valley Area

Area Map

Alamosa Area- Alamosa offers almost any outdoor activity imaginable is possible, the most unique being summer skiing on the dunes in The Great Sand Dunes National Monument.
Del Norte Area- Del Norte lies at the intersection of State Highway 112 and U.S. Highway 160. The primary force behind the economy is agriculture and recreation.
Great Sand Dunes National Monument- Set against a backdrop of 14,000 foot peaks, the tallest sand dunes in North America rise nearly 750 feet above the San Luis Valley.
Monte Vista Area- Monte Vista is a lively city located in the heart of the San Luis Valley. During March, the Crane Festival celebrates the migrations of the sandhill crane and the endangered whooping crane.
Rio Grande National Forest- The 1,852,000 acre Rio Grande National Forest offers every visitor an area packed with recreation opportunities, incredible beauty and breathtaking adventure.
South Fork Area- South Fork is located at the junction of the Rio Grande River and its south fork.

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General Information

Winter in the San Luis Valley - 9.75
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Winter in the San Luis Valley - 9.75
Description - Southern Colorado's beautiful San Luis Valley is one of the highest and largest valleys in the world. It is bordered on the east by the steep and jagged crest of the Sangre de Cristo ("Blood of Christ") Mountains and on the west by the San Juan Mountains and birthplace of the mighty Rio Grande River. In between, an area as large as Connecticut, offers visitors a variety of attractions and activities which can easily fill a day, week or even longer.

A million plus acres of public lands invite the outdoorsman to enjoy the true Rocky Mountain experience. Rivers, streams, high mountain lakes and reservoirs provide cold and warm water fishing and designated gold medal and wild trout waters. World-class hunting opportunities abound with elk, mule deer, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, bear and mountain lion. Wildlife viewing ranges from rare and endangered birds to the ever present beaver and chipmunk. Winter brings powder skiing at the Wolf Creek Ski area as well as miles of groomed cross-country and snowmobile trails.

This information is provided courtesy of the Rio Grande Tourism Board.

Recreation - Easy day trips can take you to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in the east, Wheeler Geologic Area National Monument in the west, natural hot springs in the northern valley and a spectacular ride on the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in the south, (Americas longest and highest narrow gauge steam railroad). Virtually any direction you choose to wander, another unique experience will soon be yours.

This information is provided courtesy of the Rio Grande Tourism Board.

Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find. Elevations range from 7,500 feet to over 14,000 feet at the top of several mountain peaks. In general, the climate at low elevations is cool and arid while the high country is cold and humid. Average precipitation varies from under 8 inches at the 8,000 foot level to over 50 inches in some alpine areas. Snowfall varies significantly in the Forest. North Cochetopa Pass commonly receives two feet of snow in a year when Wolf Creek receives six to eight feet.

Summer is short and frost may occur anytime in high elevations. Annual temperature extremes range from 90 degrees in summer to 30 degrees below zero in winter. Rapid weather changes, with temperature changes of 40 degrees in periods as short as four to six hours, occur frequently.

Location - The valley is easy to reach by car or airline. From Denver, drive four hours southwest on Highway 285. From Colorado Springs take U.S. 24 to U.S. 285 or I-25 and Highway 160 south and west. North from Albuquerque, the Valley is 3 1/2 hours on U.S. 285. Commercial airlines serve Alamosa from Denver with several flights daily.

This information is provided courtesy of the Rio Grande Tourism Board.

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Additional Information:
South Central Region - This region lies just east of the Continental Divide, from the middle of the state to the southern border of Colorado. It includes the upper Arkansas River Valley, the San Luis Valley and the Colorado Springs area.


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