Things to Know About Costilla County, Colorado

Things to Know About Costilla County, Colorado

Rio Grande National Forest
The 1.83 million acre Rio Grande National Forest is located in southcentral Colorado and remains one of the true undiscovered jewels of Colorado.

Rio Costilla Park and Campground
80,000+ Acres of Pristine Wilderness located in Northern Taos County, New Mexico. 10,000 Acres of Lush Forest offers Spring & Summer Recreation May 1st through Labor Day Weekend and is a Hunter’s Paradise throughout the year.

Camping, Fishing, Hiking, Bike Riding, and just plain Relaxing are among the activities to be enjoyed during warmer months of the year in Rio Costilla Park. May to September is ideal for experiencing Rio Costilla Park in its splendor. Temperatures are mild, wild flowers are in bloom and wildlife is most active. Deer and elk inhabit Rio Costilla Park in vast numbers. Visitors may see smaller game such as turkey, ruffed grouse or golden eagles. One may be fortunate enough to see bear, cougar, or Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep basking in the sunlight.

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve  
The Great Sand Dunes are a famous feature of the valley. They lie directly to the west of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The dunes can reach 750 feet (230 m) high. The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is in place to protect both the dunes and the numerous archeological sites found in the area. Visitors must walk across the wide and shallow Medano Creek to reach the dunes in spring and summer months. The creek typically has a peak flow from late May to early June in most years. From July through April, the creek is usually no more than a few inches deep, if there is any water at all. Hiking is permitted throughout the dunes with the warning that the sand surface temperature may reach 150 °F in summer.

Sandboarding and sandsleddingare popular activities, both done on specially designed equipment which can be rented just outside the park entrance or in Alamosa. Visitors with street-legal four-wheel drive vehicles may continue past the end of the park’s main road to Medano Pass on 22 miles of unpaved road, crossing the stream bed of Medano Creek nine times and traversing 4 miles of deep sand. Hunting is permitted in the preserve during the months of autumn, while hunting is prohibited within national park boundaries at all times.

Zapata Falls 
Zapata Falls is another amazing attraction in this area. Here, water tumbles some 30 feet into a pool below. In the summer, the falls offer a cool respite; in the winter, cold temperatures turn them into a giant ice sculpture.

Cano’s Castle, Antonito Colorado
Five structures built by an eccentric gentleman named Cano. The “buildings” are constructed of scrap aluminum, wire, hubcaps, grills, screen doors, window casements, etc. Bicycle reflectors add notes of color. Countless beer cans, carefully cut apart, predominate. The tops and bottoms are nailed to the walls in repeating patterns; the middles have been turned inside-out and hammered flat to create aluminum siding. It’s free to observe, donation required to speak with Cano.

Stations of the Cross Shrine by Huberto Maestas
The Stations of the Cross Shrine is located in San Luis, which is Colorado’s oldest town. The dirt walking trail is less than a mile long. It slowly winds you up the mesa, passing the different “stations” as you go. The Stations of the Cross are a series of 15 bronze statues depicting the last hours of Christ’s life—his judgment, sufferings, and death.

Penitente Canyon
Penitente Canyon is located in the San Luis Valley. It was once a refuge for the Penitentes. The area, located on the lands of the Bureau of Land Management, offers rock climbing, fishing, mountain biking/hiking trails, and camping.

Lake Pueblo State Park
Lake Pueblo State Park is a state park located in Pueblo County, Colorado. It includes 60 miles of shoreline and 10,000 acres of land. Activities it offers include two full-service marinas, recreational fishing, hiking, camping and swimming at a special swim beach.

Costilla County is home to wildlife such as deer, elk, antelope, mule deer, and moose; some of which may be seen in herds grazing the fields. Coyotes, bears, bighorn sheep, lynx, and mountain lions also make their homes here. There is a large variety of birds, some which are migratory, including but not limited to Sandhill cranes, Canadian geese, hawks, and Bald Eagles.

City of Alamosa

Sample the local cuisine, hop a train and take a ride through the Rocky Mountains, or play a round of golf at Cattails Golf Course. Adams State University is a state-supported liberal arts university in Alamosa, Colorado, U.S.

Fort Garland
The town of Fort Garland rests along U.S. 160 under the watchful eye of 14,345-foot Mount Blanca. Adobe buildings and wide-open skies characterize this rural town about 25 miles east of Alamosa. Home to a mission-style Catholic church and a couple of restaurants, the town is most noted for its namesake structure, the historic Fort Garland.

FISHING – There are several reservoirs that are excellent for fishing and boating: Eastdale Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, Smith Reservoir, and Mountain Home Reservoir. These reservoirs contain a variety of fish species such as walleye, pike, and several species of trout, bass, among others.

HUNTING – Costilla County offers some of the best big game hunting in Colorado. There is a “Greenbelt” in that has over 5,000 acres set aside for hunting and recreation. The Trinchera Elk Herd in Game Management Unit 83 (Costilla County) is one of the largest in Colorado with an estimated Population of 16,000 elk. Over-the-counter bull licenses at the Post Commisary in Fort Garland for most Game Management Units.

SKIING – There are several Ski Areas within a 90-minute drive from the area.
Wolf Creek Ski Area in Pagosa Springs averages 36’ of snowfall per season and boasts “the most snow in Colorado.” Nine lifts service over 1600 acres of terrain.
Red River Ski & Summer Area is located in the southern Rockies, just north of Taos, New Mexico. They average 213” of snowfall per year. They have 7 lifts servicing 63 trails over 290 skiable acres.
Angel Fire Resort in Angel Fire, New Mexico, averages 210” of snow each year. They have 7 lifts servicing 80 trails.

Angel Fire Resort has a really cool bike park that they’re always working on, adding to, and improving. It is the Largest Bike Park in the Rockies and has been voted Best in the Southwest by! With a summit elevation of 10,677 feet, the Angel Fire Bike Park offers lift-accessed downhill biking with over 60 miles of trails for all ages and abilities.
Penitent Canyon

Angel Fire Resort features four ziplines at the top of the mountain, high above the stunning Moreno Valley. Tours typically take two to three hours, and the ziplines vary from 120 to 1,600 feet in length. Between ziplines, you’ll walk along a well-maintained path which allows you to fully enjoy the beauty of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting & Zipline
in Buena Vista offers high quality outdoor adventure packages in the Rocky Mountain region. They are about a 3 ½ hr drive from San Luis.

Granite Mountain Outfitters – Dorsey Creek Rd., Hwy 285, Salida, CO 81155
Rainbow Trout Ranch – 1484 Forest Service Rd 250, Antonito, CO 81120
Spotted Fever Ranch – 12525 Rd R.5, San Acacio, CO 81151

Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting & Zipline in Buena Vista offers high quality outdoor adventure packages in the Rocky Mountain region. They are about a 3 ½ hr drive from San Luis.

Cattails Golf Course – 6615 N River Rd Alamosa CO
Challenger Golf Course – 67581 CR T Crestone CO
Monte Vista Golf Club – 101 Country Club Dr Monte Vista CO

Colorado Hot Air Balloon Rides – South Park Valley CO

Alamosa Canyon
English Valley
La Garita Creek Wall
Penitent Canyon
The Rock Garden
Sidewinder Canyon
Witches Canyon

The Arts
There are over 500 known artists living in the San Luis Valley as evidenced by an onging directory maintained by Monte Vista artists’ group, The Art Thing,[18] The Art Thing’s membership boasts several nationally recognized artists working in various media. Monte Vista is also home to the [19] Monte Arts Council as well as several festivals and an art tour that attracts artists from as far away as California and North Carolina.
The San Luis Valley is home to five active live theaters, two at Adams State University, The Creede Repertory Theater, The Old Spanish Trails Theatre Company and Rocky Mountain Stage in Monte Vista. In August there are two major Music Festivals, the Crestone Music Festival and Spanish Trails Music Festival and Mexican Rodeo. Music in the valley has two well known sponsors in the South Fork Music Association and the Alamosa Live Music Association.
Taos, New Mexico is an easy 90 minutes south. Taos is a long-time and well known art colony, and offers many galleries and museums showcasing regional artwork. This area attracts thousands of tourists each year – can become your own backyard playground.

Solar Energy
The San Luis Valley is an alpine desert environment which is conducive to solar energy production. It has the highest per capita concentration of home-based solar energy systems in the United States.