Mountain Home Reservoir/ Costilla County Veterans Park
The Paw Print
Mountain Home Reservoir is owned and maintained by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and is only 25 miles east of Alamosa on Highway 160, just outside the town of Ft. Garland. You will see the signs to the reservoir off Carson Road. The turnoff is just south of the railroad tracks. It looks as if you are driving onto private property as you make your way down Icehouse Road; however, this road is open to the public, although the housing developments are private property. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Mountain Bluebirds that proliferate this area. They are hard to miss with their electric blue feathers as they dart in and out of the flora and fauna on the roadside.
If you are looking for a water experience out here in the desert, this is your best bet. Mountain Home Reservoir is almost completely surrounded by beach, albeit dirt instead of sand. This is a nice feature if you like to picnic or sunbathe with a book. This reservoir is stocked with Northern Pike, Brook Trout, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, so be sure to bring your fishing gear if you are so inclined. There are plenty of fire pits and a few cook stoves in which to cook the catch of the day.
This area has a plethora of campsites available to suit every need. This is a pack in/pack out area, so don’t forget to bring extra bags to pack out your garbage. In addition, this area has two restroom facilities. Please check out the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website for camping permits and information. http://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/RulesRegs/Regulations/ChP07.pdf
The day I went out was sunny and warm with just a bit of a breeze kicking up the waves on the water. I am always seeking out ways to commune with nature and reset my mental clock, and Mountain Home Reservoir did just that. Perfect for a day of reading on the beach and wandering around the water chitchatting with wildlife. As the sun dipped behind the horizon, I realized I was in for a great show. This area is set away from the lights of the city so it’s a wonderful place to view the stars. We built a fire and laid back on our picnic blanket and watched the show, which included plenty of shooting stars.
On the way back to Alamosa, don’t forget to stop by Costilla County Veterans Park. I had always wondered about the silver plane you can see from the Highway 160; and, as a transportation buff, I finally made the time to stop in. The plane is worth a closer viewing. It is a T-33A which is a jet made by Lockheed specifically for training pilots. I also stopped by the memorial with the names of local veterans inscribed to give my thanks for their service.
Mountain Home Reservoir and Costilla County Veterans Park are both ways to push the reset button in our busy lives. Whether you spend a weekend or an afternoon perusing these sights you are sure to change your outlook on life. Happy exploring!