A sandbox of epic proportions, the entire dune field encompasses 30 square miles and the tallest dune towers 750 feet high. The kid in every visitor loves to sled down the sand year-round and plunge into the soft-sand tracks of those who climbed ahead of them. Aside from the dunes, you’ll find picnicking, hiking and camping opportunities, the challenging four-wheel scenic drive on Medano Pass, horseback-riding trails, the mysteriously appearing and disappearing Medano Creek, ranger-led nature walks and a couple of 14,000- and 13,000-foot peaks to climb (Crestone Needle, Crestone Peak, Cleveland Peak and Mount Herard).
The park’s elevation (8,200 feet) and rural location make it a favorite with dark-sky-loving stargazers, and it even offers special astronomy programs many evenings May–September. The Junior Ranger program has different activities for kids ages 3–12, and they earn a badge once they’ve completed the educational and fun tasks.
In Costilla County, Colorado, the Smith Reservoir State Wildlife Area offers 278 acres of outdoor activities south of Blanca in the San Luis Valley. The area is centered around Smith Reservoir which stores 14,058 acre-feet of water at an elevation of 7,716 feet.
In 1914, the Smith Dam was built to create the Smith Reservoir by impounding the Sangre De Cristo Creek, Trinchera Creek, and several other small waterways. Today, the Smith Reservoir is owned and operated by the Trinchera Irrigation Company, while the surrounding SWA is managed by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
Mountain Home Reservoir
Mountain Home Reservoir is a reservoir and state wildlife area in Costilla County, Colorado, near Fort Garland. Frozen in winter, the reservoir lies at 2,483 meters (8,146 feet) elevation on the western slope of the Culebra Range of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in southern Colorado.
The dam was built in 1912-1913. The reservoir is the site of the Mountain Home Reservoir State Wildlife Area, managed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Among the species of fish anglers can catch in the reservoir is northern pike
Arguably Colorado’s most unique roadside attraction, the UFO Watchtower invites extraterrestrial seekers and curious minds alike to the watchtower for a chance to spot an alien or UFO for themselves. Allegedly, this location has hosted numerous UFO sightings over the years, which could in part be possible thanks to Alamosa’s vast and unfiltered view of the night’s sky. The Great Sand Dunes National Park are right around the corner, which have been designated as an International Dark Sky Park, because of the areas exceptional stargazing vantage point.
Yes, alligators in Colorado, even see a celebrity! Remember the Alligator that got Chub’s hand in Happy Gilmore? He chose Colorado to retire and you can make a trip up to see him and also several other educational experiences at the Colorado Gators Reptile Park
Taos New Mexico is a little over an hour away and has great skiing! Check out the link for more information on skiing!
Building in the San Luis Valley
You should call the county for with questions on what you want to do. Colorado Law requires a septic tank for a dwelling. Costilla county has a 600 square foot minimum for your dwelling and you may haul your water or install a well. We have contacts to help you with your construction!