ALAMOSA ➞ FORT GARLAND ➞ FIR SUMMIT ➞ LA VETA
Set among the dramatic Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges in Southwest Colorado, Alamosa is the San Luis Valley’s cultural and economic center. The depot is located on the town’s main street, and a range of dining, lodging, and recreational opportunities are all a short distance away. Experience the best things to do in Alamosa after seeing the gorgeous views and surrounding mountains on your train ride!
Located in south central Colorado and surrounded by the dramatic Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountain ranges, Alamosa is the San Luis Valley’s largest town (10,000) and serves as its cultural and economic center and is heralded as the gateway to the Great Sand Dunes
Central to attractions and recreation opportunities for all ages, Alamosa offers visitors a range of lodging, dining and entertainment throughout the year. The town’s Main Street pubs, cafes, coffee shops and retail shops are just a short walk from the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad’s historic depot. The mighty Rio Grande winds through town and alongside picturesque Cole Park, a great spot for a sunset walk after a day on the train.
Alamosa hosts exciting events year-round, including Summerfest on the Rio, the Early Iron Festival, Sundays at Six concert series in the park, spring ArtWalk, historic tours, Fourth of July festivities, rodeos, theater and musical performances, local events and more.
Fir is a truly unique place located at the top of LaVeta Pass. Originally a majestic mountain clearing opening up to the big Colorado skies, the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad chose this spot as the nesting place for Mountain Rails Live – a summer concert series only accessible by train.
Because of its natural beauty, the railroad wanted to leave as little a footprint on this landscape as possible. Using large solar panels and a big wind turbine, this mountaintop amphitheater is powered by the abundant wind and sun at the top of LaVeta Pass. Using this power, artists from around the country come to Fir to play on this stage and herald its great sound.
The Railroad has outfitted the summit with a BBQ station with delicious chuck-wagon fare, ample seating, restrooms and shelter from the mountain sun. Passengers come back year after year to enjoy concerts and quality time at an event you cannot experience anywhere else in the United States.
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. Built in 1858, the fort was designed to protect settlers in the San Luis Valley, then a territory of New Mexico. The parallelogram-shaped fort once housed more than 200 men, including soldiers, volunteers and Kit Carson, the fort’s commander at the time.
Fort Garland was abandoned in 1883, but survives now as the Fort Garland Museum, a prominent example of Colorado’s living history. Here visitors wander the fort’s parade grounds and adobe buildings while taking in the some of the region’s Hispanic folk art. Just a couple of miles from the fort await fishing areas and shady campsites along Ute Creek. Nearby attractions include the not-to-be-missed Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve as well as a trailhead to Mount Blanca, the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross in nearby San Luis and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad.
Stops in Fort Garland offer an alternative pick-up spot for both Excursion and Concert trains.