Things to Do – Southern Colorado
Welcome to the beautiful San Luis Valley!
From majestic mountain peaks to stunning river valleys, the eastern terminus of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad offers abundant opportunities for adventure to enhance your train ride. We encourage you to explore the possibilities as you plan your visit. The wide variety of lodging, restaurants, gift shops, outdoor adventures, National Forests, State Parks and historic sites can help you create a memorable and activity-packed vacation. We direct you to the following website to begin your exploration of the extraordinary community that surrounds and supports the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad:
Alamosa Chamber of Commerce: www.AlamosaChamber.com
Southern Colorado is home to a few National Parks, more than a few fourteeners, great elk and antelope hunting grounds, golf courses where your golf balls sail through the air (10% further, according to Golf Digest!), 4-wheel drive trails, and the Continental Divide.
Whether you have a weekend or a month, we have tried to pick a few top (besides our railroad) on your trip to Southern Colorado.
Rio Grande National Forest
The 1.83 million acre Rio Grande National Forest is located in south-central Colorado and remains one of the true undiscovered jewels of Colorado. The Rio Grande begins its 1800 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico high up in the San Juan Mountains in the westernmost part of the Forest. The Continental Divide runs for 236 miles along most of the western border of the Forest and the jagged tops of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains from the eastern border. In between these two mountain ranges sits the San Luis Valley which is a large agricultural alpine valley.
Mesa Verde National Park
Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, Mesa Verde National Park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 cliff dwellings. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States. The stunning landscape of Southwest Colorado, near Four Corners, is the backdrop as you explore Mesa Verde National Park.
Visit Mesa Verde National Park, CO
Mesa Verde, CO
Great Sand Dunes National Park
The tallest dunes in North America are the centerpiece in a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. Experience this diversity through hiking, sand sledding, splashing in Medano Creek, wildlife watching, and more!
Visit Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO
San Luis State Wildlife Area
In the shadow of the Great Sand Dunes National Park is peaceful San Luis State Park and Wildlife Area. Waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors fill the sky over this unique desert ecosystem, making San Luis an outstanding wildlife area most of the year. The park is located just 15 minutes west of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and features a modern campground. All 51 sites have electrical hookups, sheltered tables, fire grills, nearby drinking water hydrants, and an available dump station. Campsites have a panoramic view of San Luis Lake, the surrounding Sangre de Cristo Mountain Range and the Great Sand Dunes.
Visit San Luis State Wildlife Area, CO
16399 Ln 6, Mosca, CO 81146
Fort Garland Museum
Established in 1858 in southern Colorado, Fort Garland, with its garrison of over 100 men, served to protect the earliest settlers in the San Luis Valley. Today you are invited to walk the parade ground of the fort and tour the adobe buildings, which feature a re-creation of the commandant’s quarters during Kit Carson’s time.
Visit Fort Garland Museum, CO
29477 Highway 159
PO Box 368
Fort Garland, CO 81133
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1962 as a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife. 14,345 foot Mt. Blanca of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains provides a stunning backdrop for this 11,169 acre refuge.
Visit Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge, CO
9383 El Rancho Lane,
Alamosa, CO 81101
Phone: (719) 589-4021
Continental Divide Trail
Through-hiking any trail grabs the imagination of any hiker at some point in his or her life. The Continental Divide — that place on the map that splits East Coast from West Coast is one of those through-hiking beauties. One of the access points to the Continental Divide is via our very own Cumbres Pass. Park your car in Chama, NM, grab the train to Cumbres and hop off to begin your adventure. Or, grab the train as you’re through-hiking to go to town, pick up supplies, a shower and a hot meal before continuing on.