A quick detour from I-285 S in the town of Monte Vista leads you into the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.

flying Sandhill Cranes with mountains in the background

As you enter the town of Monte Vista along I-285, stay on the Hiwy and watch as it turnsWelcome sign at Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge into Broadway, Gunbarrel and finally into Highway 15 South.  In approx 6.5 miles (from when you past 1st St), you will find yourself at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge.  Watch for the sign at the parking lot.

At the parking lot there is information posted about the Refuge and the San Luis Valley.  There is also a restroom.  Take a few minutes for a tailgate picnic and then head into the Refuge.

moss covered lake on PlainsThe Wildlife Refuge is a 2.5 mi loop, along signs about water fowl in San Luis Valleywhich you’ll enjoy lakes, marshes, and many different kinds of waterfowl.  The are informational signs posted throughout where you can learn about this unique area.  Make sure to have your camera ready!


If you happen to be passing through in spring between mid-February and mid-April or in mid-October, check online for the Sandhill Crane Migration.  It is a sight you will never forget!!

     To return to I-285, continue on 15 South until you get to Hiwy 370 East.  Go Left on 370 E for 14 miles, and you’ll be right back on I-285 just south of Alamosa. 

Clouds reflected in water of a lake with yellow flower in foregroundmoss covered lake with ducks on PlainsTo use the “20 min in Colorado” Category, read HERE

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