Explore, Deepen and Attune Through Your Heart
In Tibet the monasteries were built by taking into account sacred principles that are similar to those of feng shui. The elements were always considered as they were very much a part of the over all indigenous cosmology. The most desirable location for a monastery or retreat center was against a mountain and if there was a stream nearby, the stream flow was considered best if from left to right. Almost all monasteries and retreat centers were located near mountains. Local deity protectors usually inhabited these locations and the great practitioners like Milarepa, Padmasambhava, and many other Lamas subdued and converted these deities to be protectors of Dharma and its practitioners.
Crestone is located in the San Luis Valley, one of the highest intermountain valleys (almost at 7,000 feet) in North America. The valley is ringed by the continental divide on one side looking across the valley to the San Juan Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo (blood of Christ) mountains on the other side as the back drop.
A notable lama once said “To see the greatness of a mountain, one must keep one’s distance; to understand it’s mood, one must experience it from above and below, at sunrise and sunset, in all weather and during the various seasons. The life of a mountain is as intense and varied as that of a monastery. There is a deep inner relationship between the mountains and monasteries, the true embodiment of the spirit of the Himalayas. What monasteries and mountains have in common is Greatness, Simplicity, Strength, Aloofness, and Endurance. Wherever beauty, solitude, and grandeur conspire to produce an atmosphere of awe and religious inspiration there will be found a sanctuary, a hermitage or monastery, or a place of pilgrimage. These citadels of faith amidst the most challenging forces of nature are the fulfillment of nature on a higher plane, expressing its transcendent spirit through the ascending aspirations of Man.” May these words also come to describe Thrangu Rinpoche’s Vajra Vidya Retreat Center in Crestone Colorado.
Crestone is located halfway between Salida/Poncha Springs to the North and Alamosa to the South off Highway 17.
DRIVING: From the North, you will take Route 285 South from Denver or Morrison just outside Golden for about four hours. Then turn on Highway 17 at 5 miles South of Villa Grove. Continue for 14 miles to just past Moffat at the Crestone turn and go LEFT (East) on County Road “T” towards the mountains.
From the South, you will take Highway 17 from Alamosa for 37 miles to Moffat. Turn RIGHT (East) onto County Road “T” towards the mountains
LOCAL MAP TO VAJRA VIDYA RETREAT CENTER:
To Crestone on County Road “T”: Drive 12 miles to fork in Road and bear RIGHT onto Camino Baca Grande. Continue 2.1 miles and turn RIGHT onto Camino Real (paved). Camino Real is also called “Two Trees” by locals.
Proceed .8 miles to Wagon Wheel Road and turn LEFT. Continue 1.6 miles to Camino Del Rey turning LEFT at the stop sign. Drive a further 1.1 miles (toward the mountains) to the stop sign. You will turn LEFT (onto Camino Baca Grande a second time) for 50 yards to the first driveway on the RIGHT.
You made it!!
Now, go all the way up the driveway to the Retreat Center.
Note: GPS is unreliable in the Crestone area. Please use the driving directions provided above. The local directions allow you to bypass a section of High Clearance 4 Wheel Drive Road.
Also, except in emergencies, VVRC does not provide personal transportation for those arriving without a vehicle.
FLYING and Ground Transportation: If you are flying, it is easiest to come into Denver International Airport (DIA): and either 1. Rent a car to Crestone or 2. Take the BUS. The process has four steps: Take the Light Rail from DIA to Denver Amtrak Union Station/ Connect with Alpine Bus to Salida/ Transfer in Salida to Bustang Bus to Moffat/ Arrange pick up from Moffat to VVRC in Crestone (See details below).
Check with Ground Transportation at DIA in the Main Terminal-Level One for Light Rail Connection to Denver Amtrak Union Station.
NOTE: YOUR FLIGHT ARRIVAL TIME MUST ALLOW FOR TRANSIT TO THE DENVER AMTRAK TERMINAL IN TIME FOR THE ALPINE BUS DEPARTURE.
Denver Regional Transportation District (RTD) offers Light Rail Service on the University of Colorado A Line that will take you from Denver International Airport (DIA) to Denver Amtrak Union Station (DEN) to connect with the Alpine Express bus. Cost is $9 one way. Travel time to Union Station is 37 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at the vending machines located at the RTD Customer Care Counter, which is in the center of the airport on Level One. Tickets must be purchased before proceeding to the train platform, also on Level One. There are no vending machines on the train platform. Please allow enough time to claim your baggage, purchase your rail ticket, board the train, and arrive at Union Station before the Alpine Express bus departure at Union Station at 1:55 p.m. For information about RTD’s rail service from DEN to Union Station, visit: http://www3.rtd-denver.com/a-line.shtml
Alpine Express (970-641-4111) now operates a bus line from the Denver Amtrak Station (Union Station) to Salida, Colorado. The Alpine Express departs daily from the Denver Amtrak Station (Union Station) at 1:55 p.m. and arrives in Salida at 5:05 p.m. The cost is $29 and may be paid in cash to the driver, or tickets may be purchased online through Amtrak. https://www.amtrak.com/home.html Choose Denver, CO Union Station (DEN) as your point of origin and Salida, CO (SLD), as your destination. You then transfer in Salida to the Bustang Bus.
The Bustang Bus will meet the Alpine bus in Salida daily at 5:05 p.m., arriving in Moffat (Ralph Mitchel Town Park) at 6:05 p.m. The cost is $7 and must be paid to the driver in cash, with correct change. Bustang Bus is operated by SRDA (719) 545-8900 https://ridebustang.com/routes-maps/.
With prior arrangement someone from the Retreat Center can pick you up in Moffat. VVRC does charge $30.00 for this service.
Another airways option is to connect a flight from Denver to Alamosa-the San Luis Regional Airport (ALS). As above you may rent a car there or arrange with Bustang Bus Service: https://www.ridebustang.com/alamosa-pueblo for transport to Moffat.
*thanks to Pundarika for some of the above info.