Villa Grove Site Guide

Villa Grove Panorama
Photo Credit: Jim Yocom

Villa Grove: Located near Villa Grove, CO in the San Luis Valley. Site faces SW, launch at approximately 9,300ft MSL, The primary LZ is at 7500ft MSL and is miles and miles of grass and short sage fields starting at the base of the Sangre De Cristo range. The Sangre De Cristos range from 12,000ft MSL to over 14,000ft MSL and run unbroken for over 60 miles to the south of launch, then a 15 mile gap and continuing into New Mexico. Both ridge soaring and thermal opportunities. Flying often possible year round. Great XC potential. Often called the little Owens Valley.

Primary LZ is next to the road to launch, about 1 mile from launch at 7500ft below launch. Almost the whole San Luis valley is landable, making outlandings easy.

Recommended Pilot Rating - Hang 2 for hanglider pilots and P2 for paraglider pilots during morning and late evening. Hang 3 other times. Winds can increase suddenly, making it dangerous for paragliding midday.

Contacting a local pilot highly advised prior to first flights at Villa. Cell coverage is weak and local weather conditions can be very different than forecasts. Be careful of strong upper winds and a strong venturi at Hayden pass.

Times to Fly - Mornings are usually light winded, suitable for Hang 2 and P2's. Midday can ahve strong thermal activity with sudden changes in wind velocity due to thunderstorms from May-August. Beware of storms and sudden gust fronts. It is common for the San Juan valley to have a visible inversion at about 2,000ft AGL. Pilots excercising patience and hanging onto a good thermal can break through the inversion and soar the stronger ridge and thermal lift above the inversion on the San Juan Mtns. Not commonly flown by paragliders during midday due to the stronger winds above the inversion and turbulent thermals. Evenings often offer a spectacular glass off. Local HG pilot Larry Smith lives just south of the LZ.

Villa Grove Launch
Photo Credit: Jim Yocom

There are several other sites to fly in the area, including Whale, which faces SE. It is most often flown in the summertime before about 11am. Later in the day the wind often comes over the back, but this site is very relable in the morning. Launch is about 10 miles NW of the Villa Grove launch. Probably the nicest launch above 12,000ft MSL you will ever see!