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  • Writer's pictureJulie Reisinger, RVT, LATg

Trail Review: Alamosa Riparian Park

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Here in the San Luis Valley, we are very fortunate to be surrounded by beautiful views of the Colorado landscape, and an abundance of wildlife. While hiking in the mountains is just a short drive in almost any direction, many of our towns have some great trails in them, perfect for short walks, and many can be easily adjusted for those who want longer excursions. In the “Trail Review” series of blogs, we will be exploring and reviewing these trails and their suitability for your four-legged friends.


Location: Alamosa

Elevation: 7600 feet

Difficulty: Easy

Length: Varies; see below


Much like the Oxbow Trail System, the Riparian Park has a few different trails that intersect, which can lead to a nice “Choose Your Own Adventure” walk for you and your dog. There are currently three different trails:

  • Brown Loop - 1.26 miles

  • Green Loop - 1.5 miles

  • Blue Loop - 2.08 miles (listed as “Coming Soon” online, but is currently accessible)

Hudson enjoyed his first trip to the park, and even took a dip in the Rio!

The trails are fairly wide, but there are some areas where they narrow to single-track, so be on the lookout for cyclists sneaking up on you. Because these trails are in town and easily accessible, they can be a little busier than other trails, especially summer mornings and evenings. There are a couple of benches along the trails with great views of the Rio and the mountains, and you can even see the sand dunes a bit along certain parts. There are a lot of trees in the park/along the trails, which make for a great windbreak and provide some much needed shade in the summer. These trails become pretty exposed in the winter, which actually makes them one of my favorites for winter hikes because you can stay in the sun (and get nice and toasty) for most of the trails.


The Riparian Park has some of our go-to trails for Dog Walks and Adventures!


An American kestrel getting ready to have lunch

The Brown and Green Loops go along the river, and provide ample bird watching opportunities year-round, especially birds of prey. Birds that I have seen regularly in the park: red-tailed hawk, great horned owl, northern flicker, tree swallow, magpie, mountain bluebird, American kestrel, turkey vulture, bald eagle (winter/early spring only), Bullock’s oriole, black-headed grosbeak, red-winged blackbirds, yellow-headed blackbirds, common merganser (on the river), killdeer. As for wildlife, the most common things you’ll see are ground squirrels, rabbits, and porcupines. However, this is coyote and mountain lion territory, and mountain lion tracks have been found near the river in this park recently, so exercise caution when using these trails.


Here are some handy tips for watching wildlife with your dog


Occasionally you may run across a non-venomous snake!

Some specific notes for dog owners about these trails:

  • There are trash cans and a poop bag station at the park entrance.

  • All Alamosa trails require your dog to be leashed; porcupines are regularly sighted in the park, along with coyotes and the occasional mountain lion, so keep your dog leashed for their own safety!

  • In the late spring, the leaves haven’t come in on the trees, so walking between 11-ish - 4-ish may be too hot for dogs, especially the sandy sections, which get hot just like cement and asphalt (don’t want to burn those paw pads).

  • During the warmer parts of the year, there are a lot of fire ant hills in the parking area and the parts of the trails without a lot of trees, so you have to watch your step. They WILL attack you and your dog(s)! To minimize these occurrences, hike in the early morning or late evening, and try not to let your dog stop in these areas (you can see most of them from pretty far away).


New to hiking with your dog? Check out our blog Tips for Hitting the Trails with Your Dog for some pointers!


The park is also great for hunting sticks!

The Alamosa Riparian Park can make for a great adventure any time of year, whether you’re biking, hiking, or taking the dog for a walk! The city of Alamosa has created some amazing trails for us to enjoy without having to travel much at all. Help keep our trails beautiful by picking up after your dogs and yourselves!


Have a trail you’d like to see reviewed? Contact us through the website or by emailing us at slvpetcare@gmail.com! Read our previous review of the Oxbow Trail System.

For more tips on enjoying the great outdoors with your pet, check out Tips for Hitting the Trails with Your Dog, Watching Wildlife with Your Dog, and Summer Safety for Pets. Stay up-to-date and subscribe to our blog at the bottom of this page, or by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!


All photos © Julie Reisinger/San Luis Valley Pet Care LLC





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