Ever have 440,000 year old sand in your shoe? I bet not! When you’re amongst the Great Sand Dunes of Colorado you are suddenly transported to another planet. The sand dunes are the tallest in North America with some dunes towering over 700 feet high. These beautiful and unique dunes live among the surrounding Sangre de Cristo mountains and prairie lands of the south west.
Tens of thousands of years in the making, there’s more to them than just sand. Hiking their dunes, you’re suddenly in the Sahara, making your way to the most photographed dune of them all; Star Dune. You look back and your tracks have been covered by the blowing sand, but you push on because as you crest the top of the next dune you won’t believe what you’ll see.
Believe it or not, most of the sand that created this wonder of the world comes from 65 miles away. Unbeknownst to the naked eye, the sand you’ll enjoy here is made up of two sizes of sand particles; larger, coarser grains that fall from the nearby towering Sangre de Cristo Range and the smaller, finer grains from the San Juan Mountains off in the far distance. Together these mountain ranges created this unique landscape where you can enjoy hiking, sand boarding, fat tire biking, camping, and even cooling off in the Medano Creek. The experience you’ll have tucked back into the southwest corner of the San Luis Valley at this magnificent park is bound to have you sharing about your adventures in Colorado. Come see it for yourself!
TOP THINGS TO DO AT GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK:
Explore any part of the 30 square mile dunefield you wish; there are no designated trails in the sand and the possibilities are endless. Here are some of our favorites:
Visitors Center History Tour
Experience the Drive
Driving to the Great Sand Dunes is an experience in itself. No matter the path you decide to venture out there on, you’ll find other great spots to stop at along the way. Just know, the drive and its exquisite sights will have you pressed to the window with wide eyes and amazement. From the city buildings, to the grasslands, through the thickets of Aspen trees and into the alpine where you can see conifer pine trees for miles, it’s all there. So, tuck your phone away, turn up your favorite tunes, and soak it all in. You’re on vacation after all.
Through the town of Buena Vista *(staff pick!) – via US Hwy 285 s