2023  40th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, Colorado

Actions Panel

2023 40th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, Colorado

Festival of the Sandhill Cranes Monte Vista, Colorado. Tours, speakers, movies and close-up viewing of Greater Sandhill Cranes.

When and where

Date and time


Ski Hi Complex, Monte Vista, CO 2345 Sherman Avenue Monte Vista, 81144

Map and directions

How to get there

Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event
Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

About this event

  • 2 days 5 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

Individual tour tickets are purchased here. Tickets for the keynote speaker can be purchased as part of the Keynote/Talk Series Ticket or as a Keynote standalone ticket. Or tickets can be purchased at the door for the Keynote and each talk separately.

For Photography workshop registration, go to our website. www.mvcranefest.org

Local hotels fill up fast, go to our website for listings. Monte Vista Crane Festival Website

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 close-­up viewing of thousands of cranes at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge as they prance and display for each other, lift off en masse in the mornings, and return to their roosting spots at sunset. In addition to the cranes, many Canada Geese and ducks visit the wetlands of this high-altitude desert framed by 14,000­-foot snow-­covered mountain peaks. Photographic possibilities are endless when these avian visitors fill the skies over the wildlife refuge.

Activities during the Monte Vista Crane Festival include interpreter­-led bus tours to view the cranes as well as field trips to local sites to view and learn about raptors. There is an Arts & Crafts/Nature Fair on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

See our website for more information. Monte Vista Crane Festival Website


Why is there a charge for the tours? Our most significant expense for the festival is transportation costs. While the local school district supports the festival, we still have to pay fuel costs and bus driver salaries. So if you go on a tour, we ask you to pay a small fee. If you can also donate to support the festival, that would be wonderful. You can donate on our website.

Do I have to do a tour to see the cranes? No, you don't have to do a tour. You are welcome to drive yourself around, all the usual access to the refuge is available this weekend. See the Crane Viewing guide here or crane viewing guides are available at the Kiosk at the entrance to the tour loop on the refuge. Come by the Ski Hi Complex festival information booth, and we can give you information. It will be open Friday 10-4:30, Saturday 9 am -5:00 pm, and Sunday from 9 am-noon. Or go to our website, there are maps and lots of information there. mvcranefest.org

Does my child need a ticket? Children 5 and under do not need a ticket.

Waitlist? Sorry, we don't have waitlists. You are welcome to come and stand in the "Standby" line, and if there are cancelations, you might get on the tour. Please have appropriate cash. The line forms on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is there an entrance fee for the Arts & Crafts/Nature Fair? No, Entrance to the Arts & Crafts/Nature fair is free.

Are dogs allowed? No dogs (except qualified service dogs) are allowed on the bus tours, at speaker events, or at the Arts & Crafts/Nature Fair.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions? email: mvcranefest@gmail.com

Where can I stay and dine? Go to our website for information. Monte Vista Crane Festival Website