The San Luis Valley is one of Colorado’s most impressive landscapes, with massive sand dunes, nine 14,000-foot peaks ringing its edge, and the historic Rio Grande River pulsing through its heart.
The Great Sand Dunes are one of nature’s most painstaking creations. Hundreds of feet high and more than a thousand miles from the nearest ocean beach, these huge drifting dunes accumulated over the eons as winds gathered and swept sand against the west face of the Sangre de Cristo Range. Life here would not seem to have changed much since the 1600s when Spain cast its claim over this region.
Main Towns: Alamosa, Salida, Antonito
- Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve
- Cumbres/Toltec Scenic Railroad
- Fort Garland Museum
- San Luis Lakes State Park
- Stations of the Cross Shrine in San Luis
- Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
- Rio Grand National Forest
- San Isabel National Forest
- Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
- Medano Creek flows in early spring
- The highest and longest narrow gauge rails in the US
- San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado
- The Plaza de San Luis de la Culebra
Wildlife: Waterfowl, songbirds, mule deer, sandhill crane, the Sand Dunes have seven insect species not found anywhere else.