- Monte Vista, Spanish for "mountain view," is a lively city located in the San Luis Valley. Monte Vista's economy is based on agriculture and recreation. The town provides a good starting point for trips into the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forest. A visitor center on Highway 50 houses information for the immediate area and San Luis Valley.
Copyright: Jim Hughes - US Forest Service
Alamosa River -9.28.91
Two events during the year draw visitors to this small community. In March the annual Crane Festival celebrates the migrations of the sandhill crane and the endangered whooping crane. In July, the oldest professional rodeo in Colorado is held in Monte Vista. Visitors and locals alike enjoy the parade and carnival that accompany the rodeo.
Recreation - BLM lands south of Monte Vista offer opportunities for off-road vehicle enthusiasts. The San Juan Mountains to the west provide hiking, mountain biking, fishing, four-wheel driving, backpacking, mountaineering and rock climbing opportunities. Mountain recreation during the winter months includes snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. If planning a trip to the area during March, it is well worth taking the time to view the cranes.
Climate - Mountainous terrain influences the climate visitors find in Monte Vista. Elevations range from 7,500 feet to over 14,000 feet at the top of several mountain peaks. In general, the climate at low elevations is cool and arid while the high country is cold and humid. Average precipitation varies from under 8 inches at the 8,000 foot level to over 50 inches in some alpine areas. Snowfall varies significantly in the Forest. North Cochetopa Pass commonly receives two feet of snow in a year when Wolf Creek receives six to eight feet.
Summer is short and frost may occur anytime in high elevations. Annual temperature extremes range from 90 degrees in summer to 30 degrees below zero in winter. Rapid weather changes, with temperature changes of 40 degrees in periods as short as four to six hours, occur frequently.
Monte Vista is located where U.S. Highways 160, 285 and State Highway 15 intersect. Del Norte is west and Alamosa is east of Monte Vista on U.S. 160. The town site lies in the southwestern San Luis Valley on the eastern edge of the Rio Grande National Forest. The Rio Grande River leads southwest to New Mexico a few miles north of Monte Vista.