Bordered by Colorado State Highway 17 and the Rio Grande River, Blanca Vista Park offers stunning views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve from several pleasant loop trails. There’s also a nearly 25-acre pond, where visitors can see a variety of wildlife, including the San Luis Valley’s myriad bird species, deer, and fox.
What Makes It Great
Visitors can walk, run, and bike on Blanca Vista’s five trails. The 3.5-mile Twin Peaks Loop Trail runs along the Rio Grande and the golf course (trailhead parking is available immediately north of the State Avenue Bridge). The Maddux Loop, at 3.3 miles, circumnavigates the wildlife viewing area and passes through historic dairy farm and an active cattle ranch. The 1.2-mile Sierra Blanca Loop runs along the Rio Grande to Cole Park. The out-and-back Little Bear Trail is best accessed from the Maddux Loop Trail, and heads into the cattle ranch—hikers here should be mindful of cattle. The Crestone Trail is definitely the gem of Blanca Vista Park. It’s best known for its views of the Sangres, particularly Mount Blanca, and Great Sand Dunes; the trail is about a mile long and is accessed from the wildlife viewing area (it also hooks up with the Maddux and Sierra Blanca loops).
The park is adjacent to the excellent 18-hole Alamosa Disc Golf Course, established in 2011. The course, which is free and open to the public year-round, runs along a sandy bottom of the Rio Grande and is mostly flat and partially wooded, with plenty of deadfall to make things a little more interesting. It’s also got new tee pads and a couple of new shelters, courtesy of the San Luis Valley Disc Golf Association and the local parks and rec department.
Who is Going to Love It
Blanca Vista is great for a leisurely stroll or a run of any length, if you combine the trails, and offers killer views of some San Luis Valley highlights—all without having to leave Alamosa. The disc golf course is moderate in difficulty, thanks to the mostly flat terrain, and will appeal both to beginners and experts looking for a course in gorgeous surroundings. When you’re finished exploring the park, head to Locavores or Milagros Coffeehouse for some of the best-loved post-trail fare in Alamosa.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
From downtown Alamosa, head north on State Avenue, which turns into North River Road. Parking will depend on where you plan to hike, or if you’re headed for the disc golf course, take a left at the T-junction to stay on North River Road, then keep an eye out for the disc golf course sign on a dirt road on the left. Keep dogs on a leash while walking on the Blanca Vista trails, since it’s also a wildlife habitat.