Alamosa to the New Mexico border
The sunlight in this part of Colorado—the byway showcases the San Luis Valley—looks almost mystical. Perhaps it’s because this is a place where forces of nature combined to create the otherworldly Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, or perhaps it’s because Conejos perseveres (it was founded in 1851 and is one of Colorado’s oldest towns). Or maybe it’s because the roads are smooth, with vistas that will force you to expand your horizons—no matter in which direction you choose to look.
In what might be the ultimate homage to a hometown kid, the Jack Dempsey Statue and Museum honors the 1920s career of the heavyweight boxing champ. 412 Main St., Manassa, 719-843-5207
Capture fleeting moments when various birds—who are just passing through on their search for perfect weather—stop at the wetlands below the Bluff overlook in the Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge.
Order a boxed meal to go from Locavores, a fast-causal spot with a commitment to locally sourced ingredients, for the ultimate picnic. 2209 Main St., Alamosa, 719-589-2157
Dark sky lovers will swoon at the Great Sand Dunes’ Celebration of the Moon, which commemorates the golden jubilee of the Apollo 11 mission. Sept. 7; Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, 719-378-6395