SAN LUIS VALLEY: THE CRADLE OF COLORADO
You will find six travel itineraries (as featured on the SLV Museum Association website – museumtrail.org) designed to lead you on a journey to distinct sites throughout the San Luis Valley.
Itinerary 1: INTRODUCING THE VALLEY This introductory itinerary features sites that capture the essence of the San Luis Valley’s heritage and natural beauty. These sites reveal the area’s striking natural features, rich layers of history, and Hispano cultural arts traditions. A journey between these attractions will reveal the unique spirit and rural charm of the San Luis Valley.
Itinerary 2: NATURAL WONDERS Flanked by 14,000-foot peaks and towering sand dunes, bisected by the Rio Grande, and graced by the seasonal migration of Sandhill cranes, the San Luis Valley possesses incredible natural wonders and provides unparalleled opportunities for wilderness explorations.
Itinerary 3: IN THE STEPS OF PIONEERS A journey through the San Luis Valley reveals the influences of Native Americans, Hispano pioneers, Mormon settlers, Homesteaders, as well as ranchers, farmers, and prospectors. These groups converged within the Valley prior to the 20th century. Each brought a unique set of cultural traditions, many of which endure to this day.
Itinerary 4: RING OF GOLD In the rugged mountains ringing the San Luis Valley, visitors may trace the steps of early prospectors and other fortune seekers who were lured to the region by promises of gold, silver, turquoise, and other minerals. Although the bustling mining camps of the late 19th century have faded, the Valley’s frontier spirit lingers. Downtown districts, railroads, mines, and landscapes preserve the fascinating stories of the area’s rich mining history.
Itinerary 5: LIFE IN A HIGH DESERT VALLEY With 7 inches of annual precipitation and an elevation of 7,500 feet or above, the San Luis Valley qualifies as an alpine desert. This desert is unique in that it boasts precious water resources. Mountain runoff feeds ancient aquifers whose waters sustain central-pivot irrigation systems. Hand dug acequias carry water from streams to fields. Centennial farms and ranches can be found throughout the Valley. These operations have been in the same families for over 100 years and serve as testaments to the longstanding agricultural traditions of this high desert valley. Here herds of cattle still graze the high grasslands in the summer, and trucks brimming with potatoes ramble down country roads. View Itinerary (on museumtrail.org)
Itinerary 6: THE CREATIVE SPIRIT Architecture, ornamentation, and art reveal another dimension of the San Luis Valley’s history, development, and creative spirit. Visitors who tour the Valley may admire the wide range of architectural styles found among the homes, churches, and downtown buildings. Many of the Valley’s towns feature galleries that present a diversity of artists and artistic expressions. Some artists carry on the legacy of traditional arts and crafts, such as weaving and carvings, while others express their creativity through more contemporary art forms. View Itinerary (on museumtrail.org)