Monte Vista, Colorado, in south central Colorado, promises adventure and education for residents and visitors alike. Monte Vista is located in the San Luis Valley, the largest alpine valley in the world, encompassing 8000 square miles and measuring 65 by 125 miles. The Valley floor is 7500 feet high, surrounded by majestic peaks reaching 14,000 feet. This friendly little community of 4000 welcomes visitors to a variety of attractions.
The Monte Vista Historical Society headquarters, 110 Jefferson, 719-849-9320, features a collection of over 3000 historic photographs, newspaper clippings, and artifacts depicting the origin and settlement of the late 1880s agricultural community.
The Transportation of the West Museum, 9160 First Avenue, 719-849-0974, contains donated artifacts from the Denver and Rio Grande Railway, an 1880s narrow gauge rail line from Colorado’s front range to the rich mining districts in Southern Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. In addition, photos and displays tell the story of transportation and agriculture in the Monte Vista area.
Monte Vista is five miles east of the wagon ruts marking the Old Spanish Trail, North Branch, an early transportation route along the west edge of the San Luis Valley.
Monte Vista holds claim to the first soldiers’ and sailors’ home in the state, dating from 1892. The home continues operations on the east edge of town as Colorado State Veterans’ Home.
Monte Vista is home to Colorado’s oldest pro rodeo: Ski Hi Stampede, dating from 1919.
Distinctive San Luis Valley business and residential structures utilized locally quarried volcanic stone called rhyolite. Expert stone masons followed early settlement to provide an alternative to highly flammable wooden construction.
The economy of the Monte Vista area is largely agricultural including some ranching. A number of 100-year farms and ranches are listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places.
Tourism offers sportsmen fishing, hunting, hiking, biking, world class rock climbing in Penitente Canyon, skiing and snowboarding. Additional offerings include the March Crane Festival highlighting the migration of thousands of sandhill cranes; the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve; the oldest settlement, business and Catholic congregation in Colorado; and acclaimed summer repertory theatre as well as narrow gauge and standard gauge railroad excursions.
Contact person: Peg Schall
719-852-2490, cell 719-850-7226