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Colorado's Scenic Byways- 4 of 4: Los Caminos Antiguos

Sand Dunes National Park
Sand Dunes National Park

Previously, I covered the Colorado River Headwaters, the Flat Tops Trail and the Gold Belt Tour byways, and now we're at the last of our group with Los Caminos Antiguos in the southern part of Colorado.   From Alamosa to the Sand Dunes National Park, past half a dozen adorable little pueblo towns to the border of New Mexico and the La Manga and Cumbres Passes (10,200 ft.), this is a very unique and interesting stretch of Colorado.

Starting in Alamosa, which rated quite high in our byway assessment, every lodging house in town is accessible- some not quite to ADA standards, but all are do-able.  If you're looking for the most accessible, the Inn of the Rio Grande probably ranks first and the Cottonwood Inn Bed and Breakfast is probably the least accessible, with a tight restroom.  The Lamplighter, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Holiday inn, and Super 8 also all have accessible rooms, and the Comfort and Holiday Inns both have lowered front desks.

Most of the dining in Alamosa is also accessible, power chairs would not be able to enter into the Pizza Den or Mrs. Rios Restaurant, and for all, entrance into May-Wa's Chinese is through the rear.  There's alternate Chinese at Hunan's, but both do have accessible restrooms. The only restaurants that do not are the two mentioned not for power chairs and the Monterrey Cafe.

Also in Alamosa the museum and Narrow Gauge History Center are accessible, as well as Cole Park and the Riverwalk which both have newly paved surface paths.

From there, the road leads to Mosca, which only offers the Great Sand Dunes Lodge, which is accessible.

After Mosca is the San Luis Lakes State Park, which is also accessible as most of Colorado's State Parks are.  The campground, fishing pier, Needles Picnic Area, and the Walking (or rolling!) Trail are all accessible!   Just past San Luis is also the Zapata Falls area with interpretive signs, most of this area is accessible, however the trail to the falls is not.

Following Zapata is the Great Sand Dune National Monument, which we have covered for Examiner already, and is also very nicely accessible, complete with sand wheelchairs to borrow, which users will need a pusher for.  This is a fascinating park, the dunes are definitely a challenge, but well worth it.

Next comes Blanca, another quaint little town with only three options for dining, the General Store, San Marcos Restaurant, and Lu's Main Street Cafe, all do-able, but the 3" threshold at San Marcos will be an obstacle for the power chair users.

The first major town on the list after Alamosa comes Fort Garland, after Blanca.  Fort Garland offers two lodges, but only the Fort Garland Motor Inn is accessible, although it's check-in is not.  Also in Fort Garland, the dining options are limited, there is a 3" threshold into both Del's Diner and Ute Cafe, and of all the dining in town, only All Gon Pizza has an accessible restroom.   The visitor center and museum are both accessible here as well.

Following Fort Garland is San Luis, which offers the San Luis Inn Motel as the accessible choice, the El Convento Bed and Breakfast is not accessible.  In San Luis, all the dining is fairly accessible, although none have accessible restrooms, and there is one step up to Picadilly Circus Pizza.  The visitor center and museum are also accessible in San Luis.

Three more quaint little towns follow San Luis on this stretch, first is Manassa, with just the Jack Dempsey Museum (accessible), and Val's Place (dining, accessible), and then Romeo, with just the Little Joe's Chuck Wagon Cafe (accessible, not restroom).

Last is Antonito, which is a great little town to visit, however the access is rather marginal.  Of the 6 lodging options, only 1 of them is accessible, but it IS a Bed and Breakfast, which is rare. The Conejos Ranch Bed and Breakfast offers the Homestead cabin with a level entrance and an accessible restroom, and two other cabins (Willow and Cedar) that are do-able with a little help due to one or two steps, which they could adapt, and planned to soon after our visit.  The River's Inn Swiss Bed and Breakfast also planned on making one unit accessible, and the Mogote Meadow Cottages planned on fixing their access barriers as well.

Dining in Antonito however is much more reliable, but accessible restrooms are only at Red Bear Inn and Stephan's Restaurant.

One thing NOT worth missing in Antonito is the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Narrow Gauge Railroad, which is fully acessible and rolls past some of the most gorgeous scenery in the area.  We've also covered Colorado's Accessible Trains for Examiner, so if you love this form of tourism, check that out as well. 

Comments

  • Lindsay Godfree - National Cross Country Travel Ex 4 years ago

    I grew up in Colorado Springs and think Colorado has the most beautiful scenery. These days I see more of Utah and Arizona so enjoy your articles.

  • katie o'rourke, manchester accessible travel exami 4 years ago

    hey. most of my articles are about accessibility and advocacy. i was thinking we might link our articles on similar issues and broaden our reach.
    i also have a website called theaccessibletravelguide.com where you can submit/read reviews by and for people with disabilities.