Bird Watching and Wildlife Viewing

Bird Watching and Wildlife Viewing

Alamosa Wildlife Refuge | Photo: @ranchlands

Exploring the San Luis Valley’s Vibrant Wildlife Scene

Out of the 500 bird species native to Colorado, over 300 can be found in San Luis Valley—and they’re not just visiting for the views. Our valley acts as one of North America’s most significant stopovers for migratory bird species as they make their way back and forth across the Central Flyway, which spans between Canada’s Boreal Forest to Mexico’s Highlands. While both ends of the Central Flyway are paramount to the bird’s breeding and wintering seasons, finding a consistently favorable stopover in between is integral for these weary travelers to find some rest after a long flight.

This stopover is mutually beneficial to the health of our ecosystems as these migratory birds distribute key nutrients, balance the food chain, and strengthen local biodiversity. The end result? The San Luis Valley becomes a more inviting place for a wide range of wildlife making it an outstanding destination for nature lovers. In addition to the waterfowl, sandhill cranes, great blue herons and numerous other migratory birds that frequent the area, there’s a long-list of residential avian species that can be spotted regularly.

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Top Locations Near Alamosa to Find Wildlife

Explore the best wildlife viewing spaces the San Luis Valley has to offer.

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1
San Luis Valley National Wildlife Complex

Finding a venue for bird and wildlife watching isn’t difficult around these parts. One of the choice locations to visit is the San Luis Valley National Wildlife Refuge Complex, a group of three disparate but nearby refuge areas containing over 199,000 acres of vibrant ecosystems. Together, they are the Alamosa-Monte Vista-Baca Wildlife Refuge areas. Now connected by one administrative team striving toward the goal of improved conservation efforts, each of the three locations has something special to offer—not to mention breathtaking views!

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2
Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve offers an outstanding wildlife watching venue in itself, packed with layers of naturally diverse ecosystems spanning dunefield to alpine tundra. Over 250 bird species have been identified within the park alone. For a complete list of residential wildlife provided by the Great Sand Dunes National Park, click here.

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3
San Luis Lakes State Park

San Luis Lakes is a state park offering a wide variety of recreation and wildlife viewing all in one. With close proximity to the Great Sand Dunes, visitors can camp, fish, and even motorboat (conditions permitting) on the lake while enjoying the vast views of the valley.

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Wildlife Viewing Ideas

Get inspired for your next trip.

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Wildlife Viewing Tips:

Whether it’s your first time out or you’re an avid nature lover, being a responsible traveler helps protect yourself and our outdoor spaces. Click the buttons below to uncover tried and true wildlife viewing tips.

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Plan Ahead

On average, Alamosa receives nearly 300 days of sunshine each year along with high temps during the summer months. It’s a good idea to pack water, snacks, sunscreen, and sun protection for any outing.

Keep Your Distance

Respect the distance of wildlife by viewing with binoculars and assuring there’s more than enough space between you and the animal. This helps assure your safety and mitigates disturbance within their natural ecosystem.

Leave No Trace

Leave the trail better than you found it so the next visitor can enjoy it all the same.

Trail Etiquette

Don’t step off trail unless you absolutely must when yielding to others. Going off-trail can damage or kill certain plant or animal species, and can hurt the ecosystems that surround the trail.

  • Plan Ahead

    On average, Alamosa receives nearly 300 days of sunshine each year along with high temps during the summer months. It’s a good idea to pack water, snacks, sunscreen, and sun protection for any outing.

  • Keep Your Distance

    Respect the distance of wildlife by viewing with binoculars and assuring there’s more than enough space between you and the animal. This helps assure your safety and mitigates disturbance within their natural ecosystem.

  • Leave No Trace

    Leave the trail better than you found it so the next visitor can enjoy it all the same.

  • Trail Etiquette

    Don’t step off trail unless you absolutely must when yielding to others. Going off-trail can damage or kill certain plant or animal species, and can hurt the ecosystems that surround the trail.

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