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“Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge”

Ranked #2 of 12 things to do in Alamosa
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Wilderness complex that provides a habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors.
Reviewed 8 April 2013

We have visited the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge numerous times. Sometimes there are
1000's of cranes and at other times none . When the weather is decent and La Veta pass is open we come down to the San Luis Valley every year . Our last visit was on Friday March 15th in the afternoon. What a treat, just south of the wildlife refuge auto loop was a field full of sand hill cranes as far as the eye could see. The sound of the cranes calling to one another is amazing.

3  Thank CSFowl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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73 - 77 of 87 reviews

Reviewed 8 April 2013

Monte Vista - excellent small reserve, easy to tour around in the car and watch birds. I went in March specifically to see the sandhill cranes and wasnt disappointed. Excellent viewing, great scenery as a backdrop. Easy to get out at designated areas to use telescope or camera if needed. There was very little people on the reserve which probably made the experience better.

At Alamosa, there was little wildlife due to a heavy frost/ice so I was more of a victim to the weather than the actual reserve. It looks as if it has potential, good easy tour track for cars, elevated so that you get views across the reed beds. Plenty of Butoes and Hawks around and I think a couple of weeks later would have been full of spring/summer migrants. Would recommend both reserves to birdwatching friends as a place to go in colorado at the right time of the year.

1  Thank daffyduck625
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 March 2013

Lots of birds on the 2 mile drive around. No walking allowed off the dirt road. But not necessary. Eagles, all sorts of water fowl, sand hill cranes, harriers. More birds are listed in descriptions one comes to but they were not all there in March!

Thank Claudia D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 March 2013

The man attraction of Monte Vista is the annual Sandhill Crane migration in March & April. The refuge is not one of the larger refuges in the National system, and road access is fairly limited. You can enter from the West and do the loop, however, most of the cranes will be out of sight in the wetlands. The viewing deck on the South side of the loop is more or less useless. You an also enter the refuge from the East, but there is no accessible view of the wetland areas from that entrance.

It would also be nice if the people running the refuge would open the gates a little sooner than sunrise. It's a photography hot spot, but to get good photographs of the birds in the morning, the gate needs to be open an hour before sunrise, as the birds start leaving before the sun comes up.

So, for what it's worth, the annual gathering is exciting but the refuge isn't really very good in comparison to other locations such as Bosque del Apache in New Mexico

1  Thank Colorado53
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 February 2013

In the spring and fall these refuges team with birds. The Monte Vista refuge is a photographer's dream for seeing bald eagles and greater sandhill cranes as well as Canada geese. In March, Monte Vista has a fabulous crane festival with tours of the refuge and area.
It's been a while since I went to the Alamosa refuge but it is in an area inhabited by the Southwestern willow flycatcher.

Thank Erin S S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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