Icon of a camera with a "C" in the middle.

Places To Tread Lightly

Photo Preserves are spaces where we work together to ensure our photography practices leave no trace. When visiting a preserve, take some time for reflection: how can photography enrich the places we visit? How can you change your travel habits to leave less of an impact?

Your Guide to Colorado's Photo Preserves

Colorado Photo Preserves
Show Respect

Remember, the places you visit are the home of diverse ecosystems and fragile histories. 

Colorado Photo Preserves
Don't Take Colorado's Beauty For Granted

Tread carefully and help protect Colorado for future generations.   

Colorado Photo Preserves
Take Time For Reflection

Think about why you take photos and how they can be a force for good. 

Bachelor Loop

Take a Photography Detox in Mystic San Luis Valley

What would happen if you asked an influencer to put down their camera while on the road? Well, we put this very challenge to a Denver photographer. Find out what he learned along the way. 

Where To Find Our Photo Preserves

Alamosa Wildlife Refuge
Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge

In this location, you’re a visitor in the home of 200 species of migratory birds. Enjoy their chorus of sounds as you tread carefully at their doorstep. 

Bachelor Loop
Bachelor Loop

While exploring historic silver mining areas and abandoned ghost towns in the Bachelor Loop, take time to reflect on the impact humans have on the environment. 

View up to San Luis Peak surrounded by grass
San Luis Peak

Peaceful San Luis Peak was selected due to its remoteness. It’s harder to get to than most 14ers, making it all the more important to respect the mountain. 

Penitente State Park
Penitente Canyon

Respect your elders. Formed more than 30 million years ago, human discovery of Penitente Canyon in the 80s is a mere blip in its story.

Medano Creek
Medano Creek

Pay close attention to how seasons shape Medano Creek. In summer, snowmelt creates a wave pool, while the cooler months see snow falling upon the dunes.

Wheeler Geologic Monument
Wheeler Geologic area

Wheeler Geologic Area is the result of a volcanic eruption 28 million years ago. When visiting, try visualizing how this area has transformed over the eons before human existence. 

Coller State Wildlife Area
Coller State Wildlife Area

Selected as a photo preserve to protect Coller’s river ecosystem and the yellow warblers, wrens and sparrows that call it home. Leave no trace of your time there. 

Baca Wildlife Refuge
Baca Wildlife Refuge

Tread lightly here. This reserve was selected due to the efforts underway to restore and protect the habitats for the wildlife native to the San Luis Valley. 

Russell Lakes
Russell Lakes

Stick to the boardwalks at Russell Lakes, they’re working hard to protect the invigorating maze of wetlands and ponds below.

Cuchara Mountain Par
Cuchara Mountain Park

See how nature has reclaimed this abandoned ski resort thanks to fundraising efforts to transform the area into outdoor recreation space.

Huerfano State Wildlife Area
Huerfano State Wildlife Area

Chosen for its stillness and lack of crowds. Pitch a tent and wake up to the sounds of birds harmonizing with the rush of the Huerfano River.

More Ways to Million Dollar Shot

There’s more to San Luis Valley than what’s in frame. To grow as a photographer, live the conscientious photography principles with us by stepping back from the viewfinder and refocusing on the moment. 

Find out how you can take the challenge to make your photos more authentic, considered and meaningful.

Shutter Speed Limits

 Welcome to the Shutter Speed Limit Zone where there’s a limit on the number of photos you can take.

Filter Free Zones

Filters have no place here. Instead, let the authentic beauty of the moment shine through in these zones

Aerial view of Blanca Wetlands

How To Mindfully Travel Around Mystic San Luis Valley

A local travel photographer embarked on a road trip around the San Luis Valley. The only catch: he had to limit the number of photos he could take along the way. Find out how this process changed his perspective on photography.