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Monte Vista, Co., spanish for mountain view, lives up to its name. Located in the heart of the San Luis Valley, Monte Vista reveals expansive mountain vistas in addition to miles of resilient crop fields. The farming hub raises potatoes, alfalfa and carrots, but has become most famous for another agricultural product - barley.

The Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is one of the area's top attractions. Established by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission in 1953, the wetland habitat provides a safe place for wildlife, especially migratory birds. Native American petroglyphs in the area depict the sandhill crane's migration, a nod to the fact that the big birds have been using the San Luis Valley as a spring break spot for more than 2,000 years. One of the best times to visit the refuge is during the annual Crane Festival, held each February.

Monte Vista is also close to the Los Caminos Antiguos (The Ancient Roads) Scenic and Historic Byway. Tracing the upper Rio Grande River, the road meanders through the fertile San Luis Valley and some of Colorado's oldest communities. Featuring panoramic views of the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo Mountain ranges, the route also passes the Great Sand Dunes National Monument, state and federal parks, and wildlife areas. Other nearby outdoor activities include skiing, biking and hiking in the Rio Grande National Forest.

Map: Monte Vista

Region: Colorado South Central Regional Information

County: Rio Grande

Proximity to other towns: Located 115.2 miles from Pueblo, 128.7 miles from Colorado Springs, 15.9 miles from Del Norte, 20.1 miles from Alamosa, 25.5 miles from Mosca

Population: 4,159

Elevation: 7663 feet

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