Saturday, September 18, 2010

Great Sand Dunes National Park, CO


It was a lovely drive from Buena Vista to Great Sand Dunes National Park. This is where we hooked the car back up after crossing 9,000 ft. Poncha Pass.


The campground in the park is very nice, and we managed to get a good site with a view of the dunes. Sites are $14 a night with no hookups but it was a very scenic campground. Many of the sites are more suitable for tents and small campers but there were some big enough for Class A’s and 5th wheels. And we were pleasantly surprised that we had a good Verizon signal and internet.


Since we only planned to stay one night, we had to pack in lots of activities, so first we hiked the one mile Dunes Overlook trail from the campground.



Then we stopped at the Visitor Center, which was a very impressive building but the displays were a bit disappointing. Maybe we should have watched the film, but it was late afternoon and we wanted to walk out on the dunes.The sign said High Dune, the second highest dune in the park, was a one and a half mile walk. We didn’t really plan to climb all the way up to it, but Jim was on a mission, so we kept going. You can see the people on the top of the dune. It looked like a long way and it was!


We had to stop and rest every couple minutes due to the elevation and the effort it takes to walk uphill in soft sand, but it was worth it. The sun was going down and the shadows in the dunes kept changing. It’s hard to imagine how big these dunes really are until you get out on them.





This is me approaching the top of High Dune. This last climb up the ridge was probably the easiest part of the walk. You can see the speck of the lone woman at the highest point.


It was beautiful up there, and we were so glad we made it. We sat on the ridge for a long time just taking in the views, knowing how much fun the walk back down would be. At the top we were 650 feet higher than at the base of the dunes.




And it was a fast and fun trip back down, except for the massive amounts of sand filling our shoes.


The flat sandy area along the vegetation line is filled with water in the spring and early summer, making up Medano Creek. We would like to come back and see it when the water is flowing.


That evening, we got to watch a beautiful sunset from our campsite. It was a great way to end the day.





  1. Awesome!! Just simply awesome! Great pics of your adventure on the dunes.

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

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  3. We really liked the dunes too when we stopped there. Hiking those everyday will get into shape!!