Welcome to Alamosa County in beautiful South Central Colorado! Our thriving community is home to approximately 15,000 residents. With in over 723 square miles of flat topography in the San Luis Valley, residents and visitors alike can enjoy the majestic mountain range scenery.The County's high plains alpine valley location with a 7,544 foot elevation is bordered by the Sangre De Cristo mountain range to the east and the San Juan mountain range to the west.
Eventhough we are one of the youngest counties in the state, we are one of the most progressive; making head-way, by leaps and bounds, in the areas of agriculture, energy, industry, cultural heritage, trade, and transportation.This high Rocky Mountain locale receives large amounts of sunshine each year, making it one of the most attractive locations for solar power plants in the United States. Furthermore, our climate is a prime for the agricultural production of barley, potatoes, alfalfa and other important items.
In addition to being the commercial hub of the San Luis Valley we are also home to the Valley's institutions of higher education, Adams State College and Trinidad State College. We are also home to amazing recreational outlets, such as the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and part of the Sangre De Cristo Heritage Area.
Being the hub of the San Luis Valley, Alamosa County has plenty of recreation opportunities, great schools, and friendly people, making it a great place to visit and live.
Alamosa County is located in the middle of the San Luis Valley (the Valley) of south central Colorado. The county seat, the City of Alamosa, is located in the middle of the county, and is the largest city in the San Luis Valley. The Town of Hooper’s jurisdictional boundaries are located within both Alamosa and Saguache Counties; however, the greatest population areas within the Town of Hooper are within Alamosa County. The City of Alamosa and the Town of Hooper are the only incorporated municipalities in Alamosa County. Alamosa East is a census-designated place covering 3.6 square miles of unincorporated land. Mosca is an unincorporated town with a post office.
The San Luis Valley was long part of the lands of the Ute Indian Tribes. The Spanish, and later the Mexicans, slowly conquered the area from these tribes during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The Valley was the first portion of Colorado to be settled by Europeans. The area was administered as part of the Spanish, later Mexican, province of Nuevo Mexico (New Mexico) until the area was purchased by the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. Extensive settlement began in the Valley by Hispanic farmers and ranchers in the 1850s. Today, the Valley has the largest native Hispanic population in Colorado and many families are directly descended from the original Nuevo Mexican settlers. The Valley became part of the Territory of Colorado in 1861. For the remainder of the 19th century the Valley saw the removal of the Native Americans to reservations elsewhere and the slow migration of farmers and ranchers into the area. Alamosa County was created by the Colorado legislature on March 8, 1913. The county name is the Spanish word for a grove of cottonwood trees. The City of Alamosa was established in May 1878 by the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad and quickly became an important rail center. The railroad had an extensive construction, repair and shipping facility in Alamosa for many years and headquartered its remaining narrow gauge service here. Alamosa remains the commercial center of the Valley and is now a tourist town with many nearby attractions including the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Alamosa is home to Adams State College and Trinidad Junior College. The Town of Hooper is a primarily farming and ranching town, although nearby points of interest bring tourists as well. Three of Colorado’s eight National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) are located in the San Luis Valley, including the Alamosa NWR, Baca NWR, and Monte Vista NWR.
Spanning 8,000 square miles, the San Luis Valley is the world's largest alpine desert. It is approximately 122 miles long and 74 miles wide, extending from the Continental Divide on the northwest rim into the state of New Mexico on the south. The Valley sits atop the Rio Grande Rift, a split in the crust of the Earth where the sides are pulling away from each other. The Valley floor is covered with approximately 30,000 feet of rock, sand, and earth, deposited over millions of years as the rift has separated and the surrounding mountains have eroded. A number of mountain streams flow into the Valley and then sink into the desert sand creating an expansive aquifer under the Valley floor. The only surface water to leave the valley is the Rio Grande River, which runs through the City of Alamosa.
The Valley climate is marked by moderate summers and cold winters, light precipitation and many days of sunshine each year. 80 percent of the annual precipitation occurs from April to October. Typically, light scattered showers will result from thunderstorms that develop over the mountains and move into the Valley during the afternoon, providing the county with approximately 7.6 inches of rain per year and an average summer temperature of 65 degrees. The county receives approximately 41.7 inches of snow each winter with an average temperature of 14 degrees. Although the winters are cold, Alamosa County experiences approximately 350 days with sunshine per year.
The 2007 population of Alamosa County was estimated at 15,313. This represents a 4.6 percent increase from 1997. The 2000 population for the City of Alamosa was 7,960; 123 for the Town of Hooper. Table 2-1 provides population estimates for Alamosa County for the time period from 1997 to 2007.
A Board of County Commissioners governs the County. The County government includes 21 departments and includes Building, Community and Development Services, Emergency Management, Health and Environment, Road and Bridge, and the Sheriff’s Office. The County Administrator serves as the chief operating official of the county and is responsible for all county departments. The City of Alamosa is a Home Rule Municipality, and operates under the Council-Manager form of government. Hooper is a Statutory Town with a County Clerk and no regular staff.