Roadside America: UFO Watchtower


Hot Sauce Superman at the UFO Watchtower

The San Luis Valley is to Colorado what Roswell is to New Mexico: a remote hot spot of strange nights, unexplained lights and Unidentified Flying Objects. And it’s not a new phenomenon: in the early 1600’s Spanish explorers crossing the valley wrote in their journals of hovering lights that could speed away in an instant.

I’ve been circling back through this valley all summer and have yet to see any UFO’s. In fact, I’ve been an ardent watcher of the sky all my life and I’ve seen a lot of shooting stars, satellites, and airplanes, but no unexplained flying objects. I do believe in the possibility of life evolving elsewhere in the Universe, but I’ll be skeptical of little green men until I meet one.

Little Green Man

Little Green Mardi Gras Man & Orbs

I may not buy into all the alien conspiracy theories, but there’s nothing I love more than a bit of bizarro Roadside Americana. So when I drove past a series of signs advertising a UFO Watchtower north of Alamosa, along highway 17, I slowed down and pulled off the road, following the signs west towards a squat dome, and a viewing platform.

The Watchtower

The Watchtower

There I met Judy, the landowner and sole proprietor of the UFO Watchtower and happily handed her a $2 for a tour. Judy told me that she has witnessed hundreds of strange apparitions in the Valley since opening the Watchtower in 2000, mainly hovering silver orbs. “I don’t know if they’re piloted by little green men, but I’m trying to find out,” she said. She showed me her scrapbook, filled with blurry photos of orbs of light and shadows in the sky and I asked her if she’d ever seen the otherworldly Sego Canyon Pictographs in Utah.

Ok, Maybe They're Blue?

Ok, maybe big blue men?

Then I asked her what might attract intergalactic visitors to the San Luis Valley and she informed me that the Blanca Massif, the massive crown of the Sangre de Christo Mountain Range, was a such a powerful mountain that it warped the energy field of the Earth, creating a vortex attractor. Having camped beneath Blanca for a few days this summer, I had to agree: there is something overwhelmingly attractive about that mountain.

When Judy asked me if I was a believer I told her, quite honestly, that I’m a believer in believing. “My mind is always open,” I said. With that, Judy smiled and told me to take a walk outside through the garden and find a place to leave something of myself, as an offering to the positive energy field, and a blessing for my journey.

I made a few loops through the garden, marveling at all the bizarre things people had left behind and found a spot to leave one of my cards. It was early morning and the sun was shining bright and harsh over the Sangre de Christo Mountains to the east. For the fun of it, I shot the garden into the sun, knowing that the dust on my lens would dot my photos with orbs of light. Maybe I’ll send Judy a few for her scrapbook… 😉

More orbs. Can you spot the Blonde Coyote business card?

More orbs. Can you spot the Blonde Coyote business card?

Amazing what people leave behind!

Amazing what people leave behind!

The Rover & the Rattler at the UFO Watchtower

The Rover & the Rattler at the UFO Watchtower

If you go: The UFO Watchtower is located north of Alamosa, along highway 17. It’s open to visitors during daylight hours and if Judy’s not around, there’s a box for donations: $2 per person or $5 per carload. Camping is also available for $10 a night and campers can get permission to sit on the observation deck after dark.

About theblondecoyote

Mary Caperton Morton is a freelance science and travel writer with degrees in biology and geology and a master’s in science writing. A regular contributor to EARTH magazine, where her favorite beat is the Travels in Geology column, she has also written for the anthologies Best Women's Travel Writing 2010 and Best Travel Writing 2011. Mary is currently based in western Colorado. When she’s not at the computer she can usually be found outside -- hiking, skiing, climbing mountains and taking photographs. Visit her website at
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14 Responses to Roadside America: UFO Watchtower

  1. Merilee says:

    LOVED this post.

  2. beeseeker says:

    How wonderfully, positively weird, and how well you present the place, setting the character and atmosphere with text and image: one more place I need to go 😉

  3. corbin8r says:

    We go by there every summer for field camp. I have always wanted to stop with our van loads of students. Thanks for giving me a glimpse inside!

  4. Karen says:

    Thanks for posting about this! We love these places. If you’re still in the area here’s another one that’s worth a stop -Cano’s Castle

  5. Thanks for posting about this. We love these places! If you’re still in the area here’s another one that’s worth a stop – Canos Castle –

  6. shazzarob says:

    Wow another post of perfect photo opportunitys. 😀

  7. nutsfortreasure says:

    You did this spot justice

  8. Mark Routt says:

    What a cool roadside find. I love places like this. Thanks for sharing.

  9. scrounger1984 says:

    Haha. I’d love to see something wonky like this.

  10. Simon Toussifar says:

    Great post!

Comments are closed.