Plan Your Summer Road Trip along Los Caminos Antiguios Scenic and Historic Byway


Alamosa – A new partnership between the Colorado Byways Program and is offering a new way to explore Los Camnios Antiguios Scenic and Historic byway, along with Colorado’s 26 Scenic and Historic Byways – just in time for the summer season. provides detailed information about Colorado’s system of 26 spectacular touring routes – 2,565 miles – throughout the state. includes features that showcase electrical vehicle charging stations, visitor amenities and a road-trip planner that can be printed or exported to a GPS device. Here is the link for specific information on Los Caminos Antiguios

Additionally, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) furnishes a free Bicycling and Scenic Byways map that is available at Colorado Welcome Centers or by mail upon request. CDOT also provides online bicycle route maps at  The Colorado Byways program web site includes a resources page with additional tourism materials, and wayfinding information.

“We encourage visitors and residents alike to take advantage of these free resources and explore Los Caminos Antiguios Scenic and Historic Byway, along with Colorado’s other byways,” said Colorado Scenic Byways coordinator Lenore Bates. “Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, nature lover, tourist or conservationist, Colorado’s byways provide a “wow” factor that can’t be denied.”

Los Caminos Antiguios is located within Alamosa, Costilla, and Conejos Counties and provides access to The Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, the historic town of San Luis, Stations of the Cross Shrine, the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, Colorado’s oldest church in Conejos, and many other natural and historic sites.

The Colorado byways are located in 48 of Colorado’s 65 counties and provide access to eight National Forests and two National Grasslands; eight National Monuments; two National Historic Sites; two National Heritage Areas; two National Wildlife Refuges; two National Recreation Areas; 13 National Recreation Trails; and four National Parks—Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Great Sand Dunes, Mesa Verde (a World Heritage Site) and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Twenty-three state parks are located on a Colorado Byway, and byways connect hundreds of thousands of acres of Forest Service, BLM lands and state wildlife areas. The CDOT-administered program is widely recognized as the strongest in the nation with 11 byways awarded the national designation of America’s Byways®, more than any another state.

In 2014, 3,010,000 visitors to Colorado accessed the state’s well-known scenic beauty, historical sites and recreational areas through “touring trips,” the second-highest activity after “outdoor trips” (3,220,000) among Colorado’s “core ‘marketable’ overnight travel segments.” (Marketable trips are those most subject to influence by marketing and promotion.) Two-thirds of touring travelers come from outside Colorado.

“The tourism generated by Colorado’s byways is often the key supporting financial source to many of our historic designated sites as well as to the local businesses along the byways,” said Bates. “Exploring the byways is a great way to support small businesses and communities along the byways.”

For more information about Colorado’s Scenic and Historic Byways, visit

For more information about Los Caminos Antiguios Scenic and Historic Byway request a brochure from the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area


Los Caminos Antinguios Scenic and Historic Byway is overseen by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and is a partnership with the Colorado Scenic and Historic Byways program. This statewide partnership is intended to provide recreational, educational and economic benefits to Coloradans and visitors. This system of outstanding tourism routes in Colorado affords the traveler interpretation and identification of key points of interest and services while providing for the protection of significant resources. Scenic and Historic Byways are nominated for their exceptional scenic, historic, cultural, recreational and natural features.


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Sangre de Cristo NHA thanks community for their support


The staff and Board Members at the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) want to express our gratitude for a successful turnout of nearly 200 people at our Celebration of Cultural Music event on April 22nd.

We started the evening by honoring our Board Members who have passed away. Family members for Joe Gallegos and Felix Lopez were present to receive a bouquet of flowers and printed memorials. Other board members honored included Stuart Hilwig, Emirta Romero-Anderson, Marianne Dunne, and Ubaldo Francisco Padilla.

Attendees were then entertained by traditional Hispanic performances from Mariachi San Luis, Semillas de la Tierra folklorico group, Los Vecinos Bailadores colonial dance instructors, and the night ended with a dance featuring the UZ Band.

Mariachi San Luis and Semillas de la Tierra kicked off the evening of cultural music by performing together. The haunting sounds of violins, trumpets, and guitars filled the hall. These traditional instruments of the Mariachi date back to the 1800’s. Mariachi San Luis wore the traditional Charro suits.  The silver buttons called botonaduras that lined the sleeves and legs of their costumes glistened under the ballroom lights.

The accompanying Mexican folklorico dance group, Semillas de la Tierra, had several outfit changes for each unique dance performance. The bright colors of the women’s dresses created a moving rainbow as they tap danced their way across the dance floor.

“I love the old dances, they are so fun and elegant” Irene Duran.

Los Vecinos Bailadores “The neighbors that dance” provided traditional dance instruction as attendees joined in on the fun of La Marcha, and other colonial dances.

The photo booth was a big hit allowing everyone to try on Sombreros (Mexican hats), and strike a pose with other props in front of a life size backdrop of dancers and musicians.

Tori Martinez, the Executive Director for the SdCNHA said, “We are very happy with the support we felt from the San Luis Valley community regarding our event.  We are also very grateful to the many volunteers from Adams State University’s Cultural Awareness and Student Achievement Center (C.A.S.A.), as well as our board members, staff and their families, without whom we would not have had such a successful event.”

Dennis Lopez, Board Vice President, greeted attendees; Nick Saenz, Board President, did the welcome and introduction; Kimba Rael, Board Member, operated the photo booth; Donald Valdez, Board Member, handed out memorials to the family members present; and Helen Sigmond, Board Member drew the winner of the raffle prize, which was two tickets to the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad.

Additional sponsorship for the event came from The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, The Colorado Trust, City Market in Alamosa, the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve, and the Knights of Columbus. Proceeds from the food sales benefited the Antonito Senior Center.


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Photo Contest Winner

Sangre de Cristo NHA Announces Photo Contest Winner

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) is pleased to announce Veronica “Annette” Martinez-Mascarenaz from Romeo as the winner of our 2017 photo contest.

The SdCNHA Board of Directors chose Veronica’s photograph of Bighorn Sheep, near the Magote area because the photograph represents the beauty of the natural rock formations and the diverse animals that locals and visitors can enjoy in our heritage area.

We received 59 photo submissions for this year’s contest. Submissions came from all three counties in our heritage area, which includes Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla Counties. The winning photograph stood out to our board as the most memorable.

We hope to make the photo contest an annual event. Anyone interested in submitting for next year’s contest can visit our website to see this year’s contest information and guidelines. We look for photo’s that represent the lifestyle, history, culture, and unique beauty of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area.

You can meet Veronica and see her beautiful photograph at our upcoming fundraiser “A Celebration of Cultural Music” on April 22nd. The fundraiser will be held at the Knights of Columbus in Alamosa and starts at 6:30 pm. Tickets in advance are $25 or $35 at the door. All proceeds go toward the work of the heritage area for cultural preservation, natural resource protections, youth education, and local student scholarships.

For more information visit our website at

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Underserved Community Grant

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area with a substantial $43,000 grant from the National Park Service and in partnership with History Colorado Preservation Planning Unit will be able to increase representation of the San Luis Valley and its Hispanic heritage in the National Register of Historic Places.

The grant funds will be used to hire a consultant to prepare nominations to the National Register of Historic Places for four properties in the San Luis Valley area. The four properties have been selected and are awaiting approval, History Colorado anticipates research and recordation to begin later this summer.

“With a backdrop of the imposing Sangre de Cristo mountain range, the San Luis Valley—now largely overlaid by the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area in Conejos, Costilla, and Alamosa counties—features thriving early Hispanic cultural traditions and practices, including language, architecture, and crafts,” stated Astrid Liverman, National and State Register Coordinator. “Designation can celebrate the stories of the Valley and complement regional heritage tourism.”

This grant is through the National Park Service’s Underrepresented Communities program, which provides support for the designation, inventory, and survey of historic properties that have an association with communities that are underrepresented in the National Register of Historic Places.

This grant complements the History Colorado Heritage Diversity Initiative, which seeks to crowdsource information on historic buildings and resources related to Colorado’s African American, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, LGBTQ, Women’s, and Urban American Indian history, with the goal of getting more of these significant places listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

This grant it also in line with the goals of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area to preserve and protect the unique cultural heritage of the San Luis Valley.

For more information about the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area visit their website at

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The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area invites the community to “A CELEBRATION OF CULTURAL MUSIC!”  6:30 PM, Saturday, April 22, 2017, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1112 8h Street, Alamosa, CO.

This friend raising event will feature performances by Semillas de la Tierra, Mariachi San Luis, and Antonito Senior traditional dance group, who will demonstrate traditional dance styles and invite the audience to participate. Throughout the evening past grantees will offer short presentations about their work which was partially funded by National Heritage Area grants, and videos of local oral histories will be presented. The UZ Band will perform and a community dance will begin at 9 PM until 11:30PM. The UZ band offers a variety of modern and traditional dance music.   Antonito Seniors will offer food for purchase.

Advance tickets are $25 and are available at; SDCNHA office, 623 4th st in Alamosa, Old Fort Market, Fort Garland, CO; Ventero Open Press, San Luis; Chavez Southwest Market, Antonito, CO; and CASA Center at Adams State University. Tickets sold at the door will be $30.

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is a local non-profit organization with the mission of promoting, protecting, and interpreting local historic, religious, environmental, geographic, geologic, cultural, and linguistic resources in Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla counties. The Heritage Area strives to partner with local organizations to develop heritage tourism; tell the stories of the Heritage Area; and cultivate management which provides excellent leadership, reflects community values, and works toward sustainability.

Please join us for a fun evening of music and dance!

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Call for Grant Applications

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) is pleased to announce our 2018 call for Heritage Grant applications. Our grants are available to local organizations working to promote the mission of the National Heritage Area.

Our desire is to share the culturally diverse stories of our area, because we believe that stories are the backbone of identity and culture. The work of our past grantees has been to preserve, protect, interpret, and promote the unique stories of people, places, and resources within this area and the San Luis Valley.

Deadline for Submission:

Heritage Grants are available to local organizations and applications are available on our website ( Submissions for our 2018 call for grant applications will be accepted starting March 1, 2017. The deadline to submit a grant application is June 1, 2017. Funding available up to $25,000.

Funding Scope:

Grants from the SdCNHA are intended to encourage local cultural and historic heritage preservation activities and educational programs and support Heritage Tourism in Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla counties. Our past grantees have used grant funds to restore historic buildings; provide interpretation; restore or promote scenic and recreational resources; and used various forms to document culturally significant components of the way of life in the San Luis Valley. Please see our website for our mission, vision, and a list of past grants we’ve awarded.

View and download our application and guidelines at:

2018 Heritage Grant Opportunities

About our Organization:

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is administered by a non-profit board of volunteers who represent Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla Counties. Board meetings are open to the public and occur on the third Wednesday of the month at 6:00 p.m., in our in rotation between Alamosa, Conejos, and Costilla counties. Contact our office for more information.

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SdCNHA Photo Contest

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA) is hosting a photo contest. Show us your Heritage Area! We would like to showcase the area through the eyes of the people who live in it. SdCNHA is committed to a future for history and heritage we want to see it through your eyes. We’d like to know: “What does Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area mean to you?” Is it in the towns? Is it in the forest or the parks in your area? Are there people, culture, or the tiniest details in it? How do you live? Capture those vibrant moments and express what the Heritage Area means to you!

The SdCNHA is a nonprofit organization that includes more than 3000 square miles of south central Colorado. The mission of the SdCNHA is to promote, preserve, protect, and interpret its profound historical, religious, environmental, geographic, geologic, cultural, and linguistic resources. These efforts will contribute to the overall national story, engender a spirit of pride and self-reliance, and create a legacy in the Colorado counties of Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla.

SdCNHA Photo Contest will be open February 18, 2017 – March 10, 2017.

Photos must be submitted to our email See official rules at

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Entering SdCNHA


In Partnership with Colorado Department of Transportation, the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area has installed new road signage. These new signs mark the boundaries of the Heritage Area for visitors coming into the San Luis Valley.


We would like to thank CDOT for collaborating with us to install these signs at all entry ways. We would also like to thank Rick Manzanares and the SdCNHA board for their dedicated time and effort on this project.

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SdCNHA Executive Director Victoria Martinez

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Announces New Executive Director


The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, a nonprofit organization providing an integrated and cooperative approach for the protection, enhancement, and interpretation of the natural, cultural, historic, scenic, and recreational resources of the Heritage Area, has announced the selection of Victoria Martinez as its new executive director.

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is very pleased to announce this appointment. Victoria is a Valley native and will bring leadership and knowledge to the Heritage Area’s programs with her experience in the local communities and non-profits. She has served at other nonprofits at all levels including: program, fundraising, executive and leadership levels, and has a breadth of perspective and experience.

Tori’s resume includes years of research, published writings, counseling, grant writing, presenting, teaching, and cultural competency. She has a bachelor degree in psychology, sociology, and women’s studies from Adams State University. She is currently working on her master’s in sociology from Arizona State University. Victoria has consulted, assisted and led research projects, and was a teaching assistant at Adams State University. Victoria has presented on a number of topics at educational, organizational, and community events, she is also a member and ambassador of many local and national boards, collations, and societies.

The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization promoting, preserving, protecting, and interpreting its profound historical, religious, environmental, geographic, geologic, cultural, and linguistic resources.


Tori Martinez Executive Director

Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area


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Historic Preservation/Historian Internship with the SdCNHA and Great Sand Dunes NPP

Expected Hours and Length of Internship: 40 hours/week; 3-month (12 weeks) internship; Timeframe: January-March 2017

Internship Overview:
The intern will be working with the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area (SdCNHA), National Park Service Intermountain Region staff, Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Staff, and other professional staff or local organizations as assigned. The intern will work primarily on historic preservation projects within the boundaries of the heritage area – including Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla counties, the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

The intern will assist with the identification of potential sites within the heritage area for listing on the National Register of Historic Sites. This includes evaluating and prioritizing an inventory of eligible historic properties for the National Register. The intern will prepare preliminary documentation for National Register applications that will require research, and/or interviews to gather all documentation necessary for the process. The intern will communicate with public land managers at the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, as well as with County Assessors in all three counties, heritage area board members, community members, and other professionals as needed. The intern will coordinate efforts with the Office of Archaeology and Preservation (OAHP), History Colorado to obtain correct forms, and understand nomination requirements and the approval process.

This project is part of the heritage area’s goal to identify heritage assets and historic sites within the heritage area to provide the public with a deeper understanding of this unique national park site. It also allows Great Sand Dunes to provide public programming on this significant NPS area, a site that is not often talked about in ranger programming. It supports and enhances the interpretive goals of both national park sites and provides the intern with opportunities for professional development with multiple, diverse partners.

During the internship, 2-3 public presentations will be scheduled in communities within the heritage area to promote and market heritage assets and/or historic sites that are eligible for national register of historic places list. The intern will conduct these presentations to promote the heritage area experience that this unique area has to offer. The intern will receive interpretive presentation training by National Park Service staff. These presentations along with the clearinghouse of historic assets and historic sites will be made available on the heritage area’s website.

– Must be a graduate level student or recent graduate at an accredited university or college
– Degree or coursework must be related to historic preservation, including but not limited to public history, history, anthropology, education, or museum studies
– Must be 18-35 years of age; under the age of 26 to qualify for the AmeriCorps Segal Education Award
– Must be able to pass a general background check
– Must possess a valid Driver’s License and have a clean driving record
– Knowledge using historic research techniques
– Adept at writing technical reports
– Possess public speaking skills
– Experience using MS Office programs – powerpoint, word, excel

Location of Internship:

The internship will be located in Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area & Great Sand Dunes NPP, near Alamosa, Colorado. Housing is available at Great Sand Dunes or the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, free of charge, for eligible applicants residing/commuting outside a 60-mile radius of Alamosa.


This is a paid internship with an anticipated wage range of $12-14/hour. By the end of the internship, the intern will receive an education award (if under the age of 26) and will have noncompetitive federal hiring status under the Public Land Corps Authority (expires 120 days after completion of the internship).

How to Apply:

Interested candidates may submit applications to Alexandra Hernandez, Regional National Heritage Areas Coordinator, at Applications must include a cover letter, résumé, and 2-3 references. Applications are due Monday, December 26, 2016.

Additional information about the programs can be found by visiting the following websites:

National Heritage Areas Program:
Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area:
Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve:

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