A summer rainstorm in Alamosa Colorado
A summer rainstorm brings valuable water to Alamosa and nearby farms. | Photo by Tee Poole /

By Sue Deans

Train stop, commerce center, college town, gateway to the Great Sand Dunes National Park – and center for bird watchers, hikers and other recreation lovers, both winter and summer. That’s Alamosa, the business hub of Colorado’s San Luis Valley.

The high, flat surface of the Valley, once the bed of a lake, with its rich soil and water from rivers and replenishable aquifers, offers the perfect ingredients for growing potatoes, lettuce, barley and many other crops.

Alamosa is home to Adams State College, a former teachers’ college with the priority of serving its community. As the regional education provider for Southern Colorado, the college provides educational opportunity, economic development and cultural enrichment, and is committed to working with underserved populations, including minorities, first-generation and low-income students.

Weatherwise, in the winter Alamosa is often one of the coldest spots in the continental United States.

Only 38 miles from the Great Sand Dunes, Alamosa is the closest “full-service town” to the relatively new national park and offers hotels, entertainment and restaurants for those enjoying the park and other tourist areas nearby.

Alamosa is home to two festivals, the SummerFest on the Rio, the first weekend in June, and the Early Iron car show, over Labor Day weekend.

More Alamosa
Alamosa history

“Must-see” attractions
Adams State College
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
Great Sand Dunes National Park

More attractions
Alamosa and Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuges
Alamosa hot springs and water parks
Colorado Gators Reptile Park
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
San Luis State Park
San Luis Valley Museum
Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area

Alamosa facts
Population: 15,445 (2010 Census).
Land area: 4 square miles.
County: Alamosa (Alamosa is county seat).
Altitude: 7,543 feet above sea level.
Climate: Warm summers, very cold winters and low humidity, with abundant sunshine year-round. Annual precipitation of 7 inches, including average snowfall of 31 inches. Snow depth of 1 inch December to February. January averages: high 35, low -2. July averages: high 82, low 47. More weather >>