When I arrived at Great Sand Dunes National Park, snow was falling on the distant peaks! I was beyond excited, realizing my morning hike would be filled with blue skies, impressive sand dunes and snow capped mountains.
I arrived at the park in late May and the weather was perfect. I set out at 8:00 a.m. with temperatures just below 40* and little wind. When I arrived back at my car, just before noon, the temperature was around 60*. Perfect hiking conditions, if you ask me :)
Star Dune - the tallest sand dune in North America, measuring at 750 feet. After crossing the flats and zigzagging up the ridgelines to reach High Dune (650 feet), Star Dune will be visible to the west. The one and a half mile journey up and over the dunes to reach the summit is well worth the trip! Bring snacks and plenty of water.
Eastern Dune Ridge - accessible by 4WD vehicles from the Sand Pit or Castle Creek picnic areas. If traveling in a 2WD vehicle, drive to Point of No Return and hike 3/4 mile to Sand Pit or 1.5 miles to Castle Creek.
Dunes Overlook/Sand Ramp Trail - a two mile round trip hike to the overlook provides views from the foothills of the Sangre de Cristos. You many also extend the hike along the Sand Ramp Trail for 11 miles around the eastern and northern perimeter of the dunes. I plan to go back for this one!
Great Sand Dunes National Park has many diverse areas, including grasslands, wetlands, alpine trails and forests. For a full list of adventure opportunities, visit the hiking and backpacking page.
Lodging and Restaurants
Alamosa, Colorado - I spent my time in Alamosa while visiting the park. This small city has everything you may need with grocery stores, gas stations, numerous hotels and restaurants. A few of my favorite restaurants from my visit are listed below.
Calvillos Restaurant San Luis Valley Brewing Co.
Have you made your way to Great Sand Dunes National Park? Or are you planning an upcoming trip? I would love to hear about your visit!