San Luis Population: 629 (2010) : Elevation: 7,979 ft : Annual Precip. Average 10″

San Luis is a picturesque little town lying at the mouth of the valley of the Ventero. While San Luis is the oldest surviving settlement in Colorado, it was not the first.

The setting of San Luis is surrounded by lush green fields at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east and the San Luis Hills to the west. When visiting San Luis, make sure to see the Shrine of the Stations of the Cross which was locally built as an act of faith and love by the Sangre de Cristo Parish, this is a place of prayer and solace re-enacting, in art form, the last hours of judnement, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Christ by Artist Huberto Maesta. Walk the trail of the stations and reflect on not only the view of the Culebra Peak but the 15 bronze life like sculptures giving meaning to the ultimate sacrifice. Cost is free or a donation welcomed at the chapel or gift shop. Visit the little shops and restaurants in town and make your cultural experience complete. It is a beautiful and moving experience.

Fort Garland Population: 433 (2010) : Elevation: 7,936 ft : Annual Precip. Average 9″

Fort Garland is an important visitor attraction in the San Luis Valley. It has the only original fort buildings in Colorado and it was home to Kit Carson during a portion of his military career. One of the first settlements established in 1858 with a garrison of over 100 men, Fort Garland protected the earliest settlers. Rich in military history, walk the parade grounds of the fort and tour the adobe buildings and a re-creation of the commandant’s quarters like it was in Kit Carson’s time. Fort Garland replaced Fort Massachusetts that was 6 miles North. Fort Massachusetts was vulnerable to attack and more more extreme winter weather. Fort Garland was built as a plaza format and named for Brevet Brigadier General John Garland who was in command of the Department of New Mexico. Fort Garland Museum is open 9-5 daily. Admission: Adults $5, Children $3.50. The surrounding wild lands are a haven for outdoor fun. Full of activity for wildlife, tourists and locals: the views are truly amazing. Bring your fishing pole and spend some time fishing the Conejos River or grab your hiking boots or bike and hit the trails.

6 THINGS TO DO

1. Visit: Fort Garland Museum
2. Drive: the Los Caminos Antiguos Scenic Byway
3. Fish: Smith Reservoir
4. See: Shrine of the Stations of the Cross
5. Fish: Conejos River
6. Dine & Shop: Local Shops and Cafes