Region 8 – Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache Counties
The San Luis Valley Region (Region 8) in South Central Colorado is famously known as the San Luis Valley, where Colorado began. Made up of six counties (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache), it covers 8,100 square miles – an area larger than the state of Massachusetts – and has over 46,000 residents.
Bounded by the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east and the great San Juan Mountains in the west, the Valley is an agricultural powerhouse famous for potatoes, barley used to brew Coors and Budweiser beer, and high-quality dairy hay. Agriculture is the region’s primary economic driver and accounts for nearly a third of region’s economic activity. In 2011, the cash value of the Valley’s top five crops was over $418M.
Scenically and strategically situated, the Valley is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty and unique cultural diversity. Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in the Rio Grande National Forest, at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and at three National Wildlife Refuges. Two rivers, the Rio Grande and the Conejos, are home to gold medal fishing; Wolf Creek Ski Area annually boasts more snow that any ski area in Colorado; and Penitente Canon challenges world-class rock climbers. The San Luis Valley is a crossroads of cultures. Mount Blanca, the Valley’s most prominent natural feature, has long been considered sacred by Native Americans. Early Spanish settlers established the first settlements in Colorado, one of which is San Luis, the oldest town in the state. The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad made Alamosa the major supply and trade route for the silver mines in the San Juan’s. Families came from all over the world to farm and ranch, giving the Valley a distinctive way of life.
Called the “Land of Cool Sunshine”, the San Luis Valley is at the center of solar energy development in Colorado. Because of the high altitude and cool temperatures, the Valley is one of the best locations in the U.S. for solar energy production, with over 85 mega-watts of solar electricity generated by five utility-scale solar plants. Geothermal, biomass and hydro resources are also abundant for future clean energy development.
Home to Adams State University and Trinidad State Jr. College, we are able to provide Master, Bachelor, Associate and Certificate programs that provide a quality workforce for Valley businesses. Transportation is easily accessed into and out of the valley. US Highway 160 runs east and west through the Valley while US Highway 285 is our north to south route. The San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad offers freight and some passenger service out of the Valley. Finally, the San Luis Valley Regional Airport has flights to Denver three times each day.
The San Luis Valley Region strives to add value to the lives of the citizens who chose to live in the San Luis Valley.
REGIONAL DATA & HIGHLIGHTS
Largest Companies by Employment
- SLV Regional Medical Center
- Rio Grande HospitalMountain King Potatoes
- Monte Vista Co-op
- City Market
- Town and Country Car and Truck Center
Top 5 Key Industries by Employment
- Food & Agriculture
- Health & Wellness
- Transportation & Logistics
- Tourism & Outdoor Recreation
- Financial Services
Top 5 Regional Assets
- Agricultural products
- Availability of land
- Solar, geothermal energy sources
- Cost of living
- Recreational opportunities
- Educational opportunities
- We have developed 85 MW utility scale solar facilities.