San Luis Valley: The Cradle of Colorado

Cradled between the Sangre de Cristo and San Juan mountains at the headwaters of the Rio Grande, lies the San Luis Valley. This vastness, coupled with a diversity of geologic and geographic features ranging from lush river bottoms to an inland ocean of sand to craggy summits reaching elevations over 14,000 feet, has enticed and enthralled people since the times of Ice Age hunters.
Creede Historical Society Museum
Fort Garland Museum
San Luis Valley
Point of Interest Sign

A cavalcade of characters, some famous, some infamous and some downright notorious, have stepped across this landscape. Diego de Vargas, Juan Bautista de Anza, Zebulon Pike, John C. Frèmont, Kit Carson, John Gunnison, Phil Sheridan, Tom Tobin, Bat Masterson, Soapy Smith, Bob Ford, Calamity Jane, Poker Alice, Chipeta and Ouray, Otto Mears, Ulysses S. Grant, Alfred/Alferd Packer—the names associated with San Luis Valley history read like a western epic.

This brochure holds six travel itineraries designed to lead you on a journey to distinct sites throughout the San Luis Valley. Each itinerary exposes a unique aspect of the San Luis Valley’s heritage including its natural wonders, pioneering settlers, mining booms, cultural traditions and creative spirit. Along the valley’s roads and among its attractions, the rich history of the San Luis Valley unfolds to reveal the diversity of the region’s land and people.

Learn more about the Museums of the San Luis Valley >>