Alamosa NWR contains thousands of acres of wetlands within the floodplain of the Rio Grande. Meadows, river oxbows, and riparian corridors support high species diversity and create ideal conditions for viewing waterfowl, songbirds, and other wildlife. The Visitor Center is open March-November.
MONTE VISTA REFUGE
This refuge is a hotspot for sandhill cranes at sunrise and sunset during spring and fall. The artificially created wetlands on Monte Vista’s 14,804 acres are intensively managed to provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other water birds. Mallards, pintails, teal, and Canada geese are common, as are American avocets, killdeer, white-faced ibis, egrets, and herons. Irrigation canals and wells provide precious water to maintain this important wetland habitat.
Migration and Cranes Field Trips
The Sandhill crane is a beloved migratory resident of the San Luis Valley. Twenty thousand of these graceful creatures visit us each spring and fall. Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge offers great opportunities throughout the fall and spring to see these magnificent birds. Fall and spring field trips at the Refuge are centered on the cranes and their migratory habits. The field trips offer learning opportunities through many subjects from art and literature to math and science.
Wetland Field Trips
Wetlands are an important and unique resource to the San Luis Valley. They provide crucial wildlife habitat, important watershed functions, and have one of the most diverse communities of plants and animals. Wetland field trips are available at both Monte Vista and Alamosa Refuges for grades K-12. Field trips explore the interactions between the living (birds, bugs) and non-living (soils, water) components of wetlands. Students also make personal connections to these buggy, muddy swamps with fun hands-on learning experiences.