Hiking in and around Alamosa

Bailey Sessions

The Paw Print

It can be hard as college students to stay active. An easy way to stay active, however, is hiking. It’s an excellent way to stay healthy, easy to do with a group of people, and cheap; if that doesn’t scream college kid friendly, then nothing will. Unfortunately, Alamosa itself doesn’t have many hiking trails. There are many parks that offer an easy stroll, such as Cole Park. Cole Park is especially ideal for people who don’t want to physically over-exert themselves and perfect for those without a car and money. Another option is to just walk along the Rio Grande, which can conveniently be reached from Cole Park. It’s easy to make it as long of a hike as you want and is relatively flat, so inexperienced hikers can have the freedom to train themselves. The benefit of having a car in Alamosa is that it provides access to the hiking trails that can’t be easily reached—–places like Zapata Falls hiking trail. It’s free to hike and park, plus it can be varied levels of difficulty; depending on where you park, the hike can be very easy or very strenuous. For the most part, people generally park at the top of the road, which leaves just a mere mile long hike in to the falls that doesn’t vary too much in elevation. However, experienced hikers can park closer to the main road and hike up to the falls alongside the cars that travel up to the top. Zapata is especially fun to do with friends because it provides a beautiful backdrop for group pictures, as well as lots of places to explore. Of course, the biggest attraction, Great Sand Dunes national park, is a little more of a commitment. It costs $20 to get into the park, but once you have a pass, it lasts an entire week, so you can go back again. Students can also rent backpacking equipment from the gym and a pass to get into the park is included with the equipment. There’s many hiking trails, but simply walking up and down the dunes is enough of a workout to exhaust even the most athletic person. A particularly lovely trail in the park is the Mosca Pass trail. It’s a longer hike, over 6 miles, and it has a steady incline. It doesn’t have much traffic, though, so no one can judge you for taking a few breaks. It has a small stream, many different species of wildflowers, and is wooded, so you won’t overheat. Mosca Pass trail can be easily incorporated into a backpacking trip, as a one night stay or as a base camp after going on other trails. These are just a few options for hiking in the Alamosa area, but there are a myriad of places and trails to hike. It is important for students to get some relaxation in along with their studies, and hiking is a great way to ground yourself after a week of challenging classes and stuffy classrooms.

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