Why Here?
Wanting to improve your lifestyle?
You will find a better quality of life in the Upper Rio Grande.  Our collaborative efforts set us apart.
Our diverse landscape and self-sufficient citizenry create a distinctive environment to live with adventure and work in peace and tranquility……..

We truly have regional advantages like no other.  Imagine yourself here:  against a backdrop of vast, clear azure skies, glorious desert plateau vistas, majestic 14,000-foot Rocky Mountain peaks, unique geological formations,…… enjoying a low cost of living, friendly and diverse neighborhoods and endless recreational opportunities in alluring and extremely diverse landscapes.  This is the Upper Rio Grande, the western San Luis Valley.

Because of our unique assets, our strong suit is Business Attraction. The top six assets are Agricultural products -- on the green croplands of the Valley floor;  Recreational opportunities; Educational opportunities; Availability of Land; Solar, geothermal Energy sources; and low Cost of living.  See the Colorado Blueprint here for much more information.  


Video

With the San Juan Mountains to the west and the Sangre de Cristos to the east, the San Luis Valley has something for everyone – from sandboarding to snowboarding, from adventures abounding to peace and tranquility, from being a rodeo spectator to birdwatching, from technical rock climbing to fly fishing.  Click on the video to see first-hand what it means to live in the Upper Rio Grande country.  Locals agree that this truly is one of the best places to live.

About the Silver Thread

Our video follows the Silver Thread as it weaves in and out of towns filled with remarkable stories pulled from a rich history, alluring outdoor adventures, and stunning scenery.  Take this 96-mile road trip from South Fork through Creede and on towards Gunnison!  See spectacular displays of Colorado splendor, abundant wildlife, and varied and unique geology. Stop in any one of the three bustling small mountain towns for shopping, dining, arts and history!

Points of Interest include the mighty Rio Grande for flyfishing on gold medal waters, Wagon Wheel Gap, the Historic Bachelor Loop and Creede Mining District, the spectacular and unrivaled North Clear Creek Waterfalls, scenic Slumgullion Pass that cuts through a natural earthflow, Colorado's second-largest natural lake - Lake San Cristobal, the Alferd Packer Massacre site, and the Lake Fork of the Gunnison River ending at Blue Mesa Reservoir.  Enjoy your trip today!

RWEACT (Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team) -- together with the Rio Grande National Forest and funded through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Office of Emergency Management – works to promote partnerships and actions that provide for public safety and resiliency of communities and watersheds of the Rio Grande Basin of Colorado. More organizational information can be found at www.rweact.org

The Economic Recovery committee is a three-county partnership to improve regional economic vitality following the West Fork Complex fire event.

To see more information about the revitalized Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byway Council go to www.silverthreadbyway.com.


Key Industries

Our top five Key Industries by Employment are

  1. Food & Agriculture
  2. Health & Wellness
  3. Transportation & Logistics
  4. Tourism & Outdoor Recreation
  5. Financial Services

And four of the five largest companies by employment in the San Luis Valley are located in Rio Grande County. 

  • Rio Grande Hospital is an award winning facility, and, with health clinics in Creede, South Fork, Del Norte, and Monte Vista, it is the second largest employer in the county. “With a smile and a helping hand, we provide quality healthcare for the communities we serve.” 
  • Mountain King Potatoes is located in Monte Vista, growing and selling the highest quality potatoes in the United States.
  • The Monte Vista Cooperative is “community committed and agriculturally driven.” 
  • Idaho Pacific Colorado Corporation’s vision is to “be recognized by our customers, vendors, employees, and shareholders as the premier company in the potato dehydration industry.” 

More Key Industries

  • San Luis Valley Rural Electric Co-op proudly the second oldest electric cooperative in Colorado serves the counties of Rio Grande, Costilla, Saguache, Alamosa, Conejos, Mineral and Hinsdale.  More than 7,500 member owners work with the REC team for power in their homes, schools, farms and other small businesses, offering fiber power through their new partner Ciello.
  • Ciello, the Valley's largest fiber optic broadband Internet service provider, delivers what other broadband companies in our area simply cannot, reliable connection at a cutting-edge speed. Their state-of-the-art network puts connection at the customer’s fingertips, with packages of 10Mbps, 50Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1Gbps connection speeds. Their focus on innovation and progress brings new opportunities to our communities, not only uniting the Valley, but connecting us to the world.  
  • Brimhall Industries has been here for two decades as a nationally renowned industrial service repair and full service machine shop.  Any industry depending upon pumps, rotating equipment, hydraulic and pneumatic power and heat transfer equipment will benefit greatly from Brimhall Industries services.
  • Worley and McCullough, Inc. is the 5th generation of farmers that supplies over 1.5 million hundred weight in potatoes to grocery stores throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. They eliminated potato herbicides by cultivating potatoes and combat problems such as nematodes by using beneficial organisms and compost to control the undesirable bugs in the soil. Crop rotation also improves soil health and is linked to a natural route of pest and weed control.
  • Proximity Malt, the Valley’s newest malt company, understands barley from sourcing to malting. They re-purposed a manufacturing facility outside of Monte Vista into a modern regional Malthouse to take advantage of the rich 50-year barley history of the San Luis Valley. Proximity works with local growers to develop optimal varieties, and they provide sustainable and consistently malted grains to their customers – craft breweries, distillers, and food companies.
  • Rio Grande Hospital is an award-winning facility, and, with health clinics in Creede, South Fork, Del Norte, and Monte Vista, it is the second largest employer in the county.
  • Mountain King Potatoes is located in Monte Vista, growing and selling the highest quality potatoes in the United States.
  • The Monte Vista Cooperative is run by 7,000 members of the community. The co-op offers a full line of hay and potato equipment, farming and ranching necessities, petroleum services, full service fertilizer and tire departments, and grain marketing services.
  • Idaho Pacific Colorado Corporation’s vision is to “be recognized by our customers, vendors, employees, and shareholders as the premier company in the potato dehydration industry.”

Learn more about our region here.

Off Island Ranch

Colorado Tourism Office Perennial Plate

The Perennial Plate is a two-time James Beard Award winning online weekly documentary series dedicated to socially responsible and adventurous eating.  Chef and Activist, Daniel Klein and Filmmaker Mirra Fine are traveling the world exploring the wonders, complexities and stories behind the ever more connected global food system. For more information about The Perennial Plate, you may access their website at www.theperennialplate.com.

Communities

The City of Monte Vista is super-easy to work with as a community.

Monte Vista

Famous for producing special barley for Coors Rocky Mountain Beer

Established in 1884, Monte Vista is the largest city in Rio Grande County with a population of 4,444.  Outdoor attractions abound as it is centered with a National Wildlife Refuge to the south, the mighty Rio Grande on the north and mountain views of numerous 14,000 foot peaks in the Sangre de Christo Mountains to the east.  Monte Vista has an FAA airport, State Veterans Center, municipal golf course, a signature Skate Park, the revitalized Vali 3 Theatre, the famous Star Drive-In Theater, two regional health clinics, and is the host to the annual Ski Hi Stampede (oldest professional rodeo) in July and the Crane Festival in March. A sense of community with diverse and hardworking citizens is another paramount attribute of this vital rural city.  Positioned for a bright future, city and state economic incentives are providing opportunities for retail and commercial expansion in the historic downtown and industrial expansion at the edges of the city.  Much more information can be found here.

Del Norte

“Singletracks” calls it a Mountain Bike Destination on the Rise with 5 Must-Ride Trails

Del Norte, the county seat of Rio Grande County, was formed in 1876.  It is the intersecting point for three U.S. border-to-border and coast-to-coast bicycle races every year.  Outdoor recreation for all seasons and ages abounds with riverside and exercise trails, including seven miles of hiking and biking trails in its 200-acre Lookout Mountain Park (USGS named summit at 8,475 feet with breathtaking views of the entire San Luis Valley and the upper Rio Grande corridor).  Del Norte has an award winning hospital and medical clinic, Rominger Airport, a county museum and cultural center, an observatory, the newly renovated historic Windsor Hotel, a microbrewery, and a state of the art nursing home (being built). Recently renovated historic buildings in the downtown and plans for a municipal complex with a business incubator and college campus make Del Norte a natural place for locating new enterprises. For more information, click here.

South Fork

Awarded 2015 Colorado Small Adventure Town

South Fork, the youngest town in Colorado, became an independent statutory town in 1992. It is located in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains at an altitude of 8,200 feet and at the confluence of the Rio Grande and its south fork, only 15 minutes from the renowned Wolf Creek Ski Area and the creative-arts community of Creede. The town is a rapidly expanding, serene and peaceful outdoor recreation and naturalist paradise (with hunting, gold medal fishing, whitewater sports, winter sports, etc.) South Fork has high quality healthcare facilities, sporting goods stores, sporting guide services, the top rated Rio Grande Club Golf Course, and active businesses organizations and community foundations. The resort atmosphere thrives during the peak summer and winter seasons when folks return to their second homes for the holidays and thousands of visitors come to recreate or to relax and get away from their hectic lives in the city. As the first Colorado Gateway Community for the Continental Divide Trail Coalition, South Fork fully supports stewardship of public lands, community initiatives for sustainable economic development, and healthy lifestyles for all citizens. South Fork has broadband and fiber optics to support entrepreneurial enterprises, and home based businesses abound. Much more information can be found here.

Recreational Opportunities

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There is something for everyone with four seasons of family friendly outdoor recreation……all away from the crowds. Find more information here.

Take a hike nearly anywhere or on the hundreds of miles of premier single-track trails or to the top of 14K peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of the great Rocky Mountains. Find more here about local trails. Enjoy the adventures of………

  • Rock climbing
  • Ice climbing
  • Snow skiing
  • Snow boarding
  • Sand boarding at the Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Trail running
  • Horseback riding
  • Snow shoeing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowmobiling
  • Golfing
  • River running, floating,  rafting, paddling, kayaking, wading, tubing
  • Trout Fishing
  • Game Hunting
  • Camping
  • Rodeo
  • Bird watching
  • ATVing

Health

As our award winning health care provider in the western San Luis Valley, Rio Grande Hospital is recognized by the community as its most preferred health care provider. With a smile and a helping hand, the hospital’s outstanding team of nurses, professionals, and physicians provide quality healthcare for the communities it serves. Rio Grande Hospital’s community outreach is significant, providing community Health Fairs, sponsoring community health need assessments, and partnering with businesses with their wellness programs. More information can be found here.

The San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition fosters an equitable local food system that restores the health of the people, community and ecosystem. Their mission is to promote and help distribute locally grown healthy food, from farm to table through educational programs and their SLV Local Roots Farm and Ranch Guide. More information can be found here.

Other Rio Grande County regional health services include multiple innovative medical clinics in the municipalities…. as well as mental health care, elderly care, veteran’s care, eye care, dental care, outpatient care, and long-term care.

Transportation

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Cost of Living

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Very affordable: 

  • Cost of living index that is 92.5 (which is 7.5% lower than the national average of 100), according to Sperlings Best Places to Live
  • Moderate to low property taxes
  • Affordable housing with the median home value at $132,156, lower than Colorado’s median of $237,800.

Solar Sources, Energy & Utilities

The Alamosa Solar Generating Plant is a 37 MWp (30.72 MW AC) concentrated photovoltaics power station, the largest in the world when it was completed, in May 2012.  In 2011 the Town of Del Norte joined green energy, putting all of their buildings and water wells on solar power, thus creating a carbon neutral foot print. With 320 days of sunshine and known as the “coolest” hot spots for solar generation, the San Luis Valley is working toward a renewable energy future.  Read more here.

Strong electrical utility co-ops build strong communities.  The San Luis Valley Rural Electric Co-op offers fiber power through their new partner Ciello. Ciello, the Valley's largest fiber optic broadband Internet service provider, delivers reliable connection at a cutting edge speed. Their state-of-the-art network puts connection at the customer’s fingertips. Their focus on innovation and progress brings new opportunities and strength to our community, offering broadband that unites us to the world.

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Area Resources & Attractions

From bird watching to theater going the San Luis Valley attractions are diverse, for more information click here. 

Craft Industries

Craft industries produce products that are handmade by artists and/or artisans skilled in a particular trade. These entrepreneurial small businesses include everything from fine arts to handmade textiles to culinary products to custom designed and fitted objects of value. Most creative industry talent operates independently or with specially trained assistants. Our lower cost of living and inspiring surroundings combine to help these businesses survive and flourish.  You can live and work here while reaching out to the world for your customer base.

Craft industries represent a rapidly increasing portion of the small business community within the United States. Start-up costs for these types of businesses tend to be low, and most owners can create items in their own homes or smaller facilities.  The San Luis Valley is an economical asset to those who want to create their own identity or to be a disruptor to an existing industry.