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Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

6120 CO-15, Monte Vista, Colorado 81144 USA

  • Independent
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“Expansiveand beautiful wetlands”

Monte Vista and Alamosa National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) are found in the heart of Colorado's San Luis valley. The artificially created wetlands on Monte Vista NWR's 14,804 acres are intensively managed to provide habitat for a wide variety of waterfowl and other water birds. Mallards, pintail, teal, and Canada geese are common, as are American avocets, killdeer, white-faced ibis, egrets, and herons. Irrigation canals and wells provide precious water to maintain important wetland habitat. The site was historically an agricultural area and thus water is intensively managed on the refuge, especially in comparison to the nearby Alamosa refuge. Irrigation includes numerous dikes and other water control structures that provide water to a patchwork of diverse wetland habitats ranging from shallow wet meadows to open water. The refuge includes Artesian wells, pumped wells and irrigation canals, some dating to the "ditch boom" of the 1880s. The refuge is a major stopover for migrating greater sandhill cranes moving between their wintering area around Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico and breeding grounds in the northern United States and southern Canada. Up to 20,000 cranes pass through in the spring and again in the fall. Three remaining endangered whooping cranes from a failed attempt to establish a wild migratory population in the 1980s can be seen migrating with their foster species, the sandhill crane. Beginning in the l980s, a herd of elk began using the refuge. At present, several hundred elk may be seen on the refuge seeking winter food and sanctuary from hunting pressure on nearby public lands.

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Reviewed by
Chini Tiongco

  • 211 Reviews
  • 106 Helpful
September 03, 2014
Rated 3.0

Such a beautiful place with many variety of bird species and wildlife. The tour was self guided tour and it was very informative and relaxing. The place was not crowded when we visited the refuge.

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Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

6120 CO-15
Monte Vista, Colorado
81144 USA
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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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