Ranked as GOCO’s top-priority open space project in 2018, Alamosa Riparian Park is the result of a collaborative project that elevated community priorities around recreation, conservation, and wellness. Western Rivers Conservancy (WRC), the City of Alamosa, and a long list of partners worked together to add the pristine, 203-acre riverfront park to the city’s open space offerings and conserve a mile of the Rio Grande. The park created new opportunities for recreation along the river banks and protected a valuable stretch of wildlife habitat.

Alamosa Riparian Park. Photo by Christi Bode, courtesy of Western Rivers Conservancy.
Alamosa Riparian Park. Photos by Christi Bode, courtesy of Western Rivers Conservancy.

Located just northwest of Alamosa, the park serves as an upstream anchor for the city’s growing network of pedestrian and bike trails, adding more than five miles of new trails on the property itself. It is a critical piece of the community’s Revitalize the Rio Initiative, an effort to link trails and improve river health and access along the Rio Grande throughout Alamosa and south to the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge. To make the park a reality, WRC purchased adjacent properties in 2018 from two families that shared the community’s vision to create public open space along the river and keep the land undeveloped.

True to its name, Alamosa Riparian Park contains extensive groves of tall cottonwoods (or alamosas, in Spanish) that shade trails for pedestrians, cyclists, birders, runners and others to enjoy year-round. Healthy, native plants line the river and provide habitat for animals like the rare southwestern willow flycatcher. Visitors can also see river otters, bald eagles, and other wildlife.