Alamosa County is located in the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado, bordered by Costilla County to the north, Saguache County to the east, Conejos County to the south, and Rio Grande County to the west. See Countryaah – Counties in Colorado. The county seat is Alamosa, which is also the largest city and commercial center of the San Luis Valley. The county has an area of 1,260 square miles with a population of 15,445 (as of 2019). The terrain ranges from flat plains to rolling hills and mountains with elevations ranging from 7,000 to over 13,000 feet. The Rio Grande River flows through Alamosa County from north to south with several tributaries including La Garita Creek and South Fork. The San Juan Mountains form part of its western border while its eastern border is defined by the Sangre de Cristo Range. The county’s highest peak is Mount Blanca at 14,345 feet above sea level. Other notable peaks include Mount Lindsey (13,235 ft) and Culebra Peak (14,047 ft). Much of Alamosa County lies within the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve which includes some of Colorado’s tallest sand dunes.
Demographics of Alamosa County, Colorado
Alamosa County is a predominantly rural county with a population of 15,445 (as of 2019), with the majority of its residents living in the city of Alamosa. Over 66% of the population is Hispanic or Latino, and about 25% is non-Hispanic white. The median age in the county is 28 years old, and about 32.4% of the population is under 18 years old. The median household income in Alamosa County is $45,347 and 13.2% of residents live below the poverty line.
The area has a long agricultural history beginning with Native American tribes who hunted and fished in the area before Europeans arrived. Today, agriculture remains an important part of Alamosa County’s economy with crops such as potatoes, onions, corn, wheat, hay and alfalfa being produced on local farms. Other industries include tourism due to its proximity to Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve as well as oil and gas exploration in recent years. There are also several educational institutions located in Alamosa County including Adams State University which was founded in 1921 as a normal school for teachers.
Places of Interest in Alamosa County, Colorado
Alamosa County, Colorado offers a wide range of attractions for visitors to explore. The Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve is a popular destination with its towering sand dunes that reach heights of 750 feet. Visitors can explore the dunes on foot or by taking a scenic drive through the park. Wildlife viewing is also popular in the park and visitors may spot bighorn sheep, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes and more.
The Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge is another great place to visit in Alamosa County and it encompasses over 25,000 acres of wetlands and grasslands that are home to a variety of wildlife species including elk, mule deer, bald eagles and hawks. The refuge also has several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding area.
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is another popular attraction in Alamosa County. This historic steam locomotive takes passengers on a scenic journey through the San Luis Valley from Alamosa to La Veta or Antonito along the old Denver & Rio Grande Railway line. Along the way, passengers can enjoy spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as well as other natural wonders such as wildflowers in springtime and fall foliage in autumn.
Other attractions in Alamosa County include outdoor recreation such as fishing and boating on local reservoirs like Smith Reservoir and San Luis Lakes State Park; golfing at courses like Cattails Golf Course; shopping at local stores; visiting museums such as Fort Garland Museum & Cultural Center; or exploring nearby ghost towns like Summitville or Stonewall located just outside of town.
Notable People of Alamosa County, Colorado
Alamosa County, Colorado has been home to many notable people throughout the years. The most famous of these is undoubtedly John Denver, who was born in Roswell, New Mexico but moved to Alamosa County with his family when he was a child. He attended school in the county and later went on to become a renowned singer-songwriter. He wrote several songs about his time in Alamosa County including “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Rocky Mountain High” which are now considered classics of American folk music.
Another notable person from Alamosa County is actor Christopher Lloyd. Lloyd grew up in the county and attended high school at Alamosa High School before going on to star in films such as Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
The county is also home to several professional athletes including former NFL running back Olandis Gary who played for the Denver Broncos from 1999-2002; former NBA player Reggie Williams who played for several teams from 1986-1997; and current MLB pitcher Tyler Chatwood who plays for the Chicago Cubs.
Other notable people from Alamosa County include author Chris Kyle whose autobiography American Sniper was adapted into a major motion picture; astronaut John Grunsfeld who flew five spacewalks during two Space Shuttle missions; novelist Ann Cummins whose novel Red Ant House won an American Book Award; writer Molly Ivins whose books include Molly Ivins Can’t Say That Can She? and Who Let The Dogs In?; artist Linda Fleming whose sculptures have been featured at galleries around the world; musician Bill Frisell who has released over 25 albums since 1977; and historian Stephen Lekson who wrote Great Houses of Chaco Canyon: An Archaeological Exploration which won an award from the National Academy of Sciences.