GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
Places to Visit
Tallest Sand Dune in North America
The Star Dune is the tallest in North America. The distance from the base to the summit is 750 feet! You can hike to the top from the summit of the High Dune. This hike takes around 6 hours and is 8 miles long round trip. Do not forget water and food on this adventure.
Sand Sledding or Boarding
You are permitted to sandboard or sled anywhere in the park as long as vegetation is not present. It is recommended to use a sandboard and not snowboards, skis, or snow sleds as they are not made for sand. There are plenty of rental shops near the dunes to rent the appropriate gear for the day.
If you want to stargaze at the dunes, it is best to go on a night when the moon is small and dim. You are not out of luck if there is a full moon. A popular attraction is to walk the dunes at night with no need for a flashlight. Be mindful of local nocturnal wildlife. Their eyes are extremely sensitive to light so it is best to use a red light if needed.
Medano Pass Primitive Road
4 wheel drive vehicles are required on this road. The road is closed during the winter season. It is always a good idea to check road closures beforehand. There are creek crossings on this drive and high clearance vehicles are necessary. We do not recommend taking a Mile Marker Campervan on this road.
Attend a Ranger Program
To truly grasp the Great Sand Dunes you should go to a free Ranger Program. The programs start in late spring and run into fall. You can find the schedule here. Attending a Ranger Program will inform you of the area and make your experience more fulfilling. The best part is they are FREE!
Zapata Falls is a 30-foot waterfall located on BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land in the San Luis Valley. There is a short hike to the falls which is .9 miles out and back. This hike is mellow and is great for all ages.