Spanning more than 3,000 square miles,the SdCNHA includes the counties of Conejos, Costilla, and Alamosa, the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge and the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.
Rich in history, religion, culture, and bio-diversity, the area preserves a special place in out nation's history where the villages and lifestyles of some of America's earliest Spanish settlements still exist alongside newer railroad communities.
The wetlands of Baca NWR and the tallest sand dunes of North America in the Great Sand Dunes National Park demarcate the northern boundary. Mountain ranges, Sangre de Cristos to the east and San Juans to the west, flank the study area.The southern border is defined by the Colorado-New Mexico border. Congress designated the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area in March 2009 in recognition of the rich natural resources, variety of recreational opportunities, and unparalleled history of the San Luis Valley.