festival events

general information for 2022

In 2022 we are hosting a hybrid festival. We will not using buses or gathering indoors.

Instead of Crane tours, you will drive yourself to a meet-up locations on the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge and learn from experts interesting facts about Sandhill Cranes from Refuge staff and volunteers. Individual tickets are purchased by selecting an event below. PLEASE SELECT ONE Crane Sandhill Crane Orientation Meet-up for THE ENTIRE WEEKEND TO ATTEND, we have limited availability this year because of COVID. If you wish to take a second TOUR to locations outside of the Refuge, AGAIN PLEASE SELECT ONE MEET-UP TOUR FOR THE ENTIRE WEEKEND. 

For 2022 speaking events, we asked our experts to record their presentations. You can watch the videos ON DEMAND for FREE from March 11 thru March 20th. We hope you enjoy! The videos contain interesting information about wildlife use of abandoned mines along the Sangre de Christo Mountains, Flammulated Owls at the Hot Creek Research Natural Area in the San Luis Valley, raptor education by Hawks Aloft and more.

The Craft Fair will be taking place for the entire weekend and information to be announced. Check back here for more information in the future. (Vendors, contact the Monte Vista Chamber for registration)

Photography Workshops

Award-winning professional nature photographer and Friends of Refuge member Ed MacKerrow will again be offering photography workshops during the 2022 Monte Vista Crane Festival. Three, separate, one-day workshops will be offered, Friday, March 11 – Sunday, March 13, 2022.

Sandhill Crane Orientation Meet-ups (Free ticket required)

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge 6120 Colorado 15, Monte Vista, CO

Every year, like clockwork, nearly 20,000 Sandhill Cranes descend on Colorado’s scenic San Luis Valley for a six-week stopover to rest and refuel before continuing their northward spring migration. The town of Monte Vista and the Friends of the San Luis Valley Refuges, host the festival. The highlight of the festival is the opportunity for …

Sandhill Crane Orientation Meet-ups (Free ticket required) Read More »

Featured Talks and Videos: When you can’t watch Cranes, Watch ON-DEMAND

When the cranes are asleep and you are looking for something to watch, or you stayed home this year and need some new entertainment.  We have collected some old and some new video segments about birds, birding, and the San Luis Valley to entertain you. Some fantastic journalists and videographers have shared their work to …

Featured Talks and Videos: When you can’t watch Cranes, Watch ON-DEMAND Read More »

Blanca Wetlands

Blanca Wetlands

BLM Blanca Wetlands: Tour with local experts the Blanca Wildlife Habitat Area, located southwest of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The wetlands are about a 45 minute to one-hour drive from Monte Vista. You will meet the experts at the location given with your ticket.

Birding Trail Tour

Join local ornithologist and author John Rawinski for a birding walk along the trail in southeast Alamosa. We will meet our tour host at 10:30 a.m. We will spend about 1 ½ hours hiking a one-mile round birding trip on an easy trail.

Alamosa Refuge Tour

Alamosa Refuge 9383 El Rancho Lane, Alamosa, CO

Register for one ticket per CAR and occupants. ( Please pick ONE special tour for the weekend). YOU MUST HAVE ALL-WHEEL OR 4-WHEEL DRIVE.  Explore Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge behind the gate with Refuge Manager Suzanne Beauchaine. Learn what we do to provide wildlife habitat to migratory birds throughout the year. Bring your binoculars as we'll see waterfowl, hawks, and maybe even elk, bald eagles, porcupines, and coyotes! Bring water, binoculars, and lunch. PLEASE REGISTER FOR ONLY ONE SPECIAL TOUR FOR THE ENTIRE WEEKEND. We have limited tickets for 2022.

Dry Creek Archaeology Tour

Movie Manor 2830 US-160 W2830 US-160 W, Monte Vista, CO

Dry Creek Archaeological Tour: Tour the Dry Creek Archaeological Site with Price Heiner, Forest Archaeologist for the Rio Grande National Forest. The site occurs on both National Forest and BLM-managed public lands. If time and interest permit, the tour may also include an on-site flint-knapping demonstration by Mr. Heiner. 

Penitente Canyon

BLM Penitente Canyon Recreation Area: Explore the rock walls and pinnacles of the Penitente Canyon Recreation Area, which is managed by the San Luis Valley BLM Field Office, located in Monte Vista.