Nestled in southern Colorado, North America's tallest dunes
rise over 700 feet high against
the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The wind shaped dunes glow beneath the rugged backdrop of the mountains. This geologic wonderland, containing 39 square miles of dunes, became a national monument in 1932. With the passage of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve Act of 2000, resources now also include alpine lakes and tundra, six peaks over 13,000', ancient spruce and pine forests,
large stands of aspen and cottonwood, grasslands, and wetlands--all habitat for diverse wildlife and Rocky Mountain plant species.
on Great Sand Dunes National Monument
Operating Hours for Great Sand Dunes National Monument
The monument is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Visitor center open daily, closed on winter holidays.
How to Get to Great Sand Dunes National Monument
Where to Fly into for Great Sand Dunes National Monument
- Limited air service is available to Alamosa, Colorado. Airports in
Colorado Springs, Denver, and Albuquerque are all within 4 hours drive.
How to Drive to Great Sand Dunes National Monument -
Great Sand Dunes National Monument is located 35 miles northeast of
Alamosa,Colorado, reached by US Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 150 from the south. or from Colorado Highway 17 and County Six Mile Lane from the west.
Weather & Climate
In fall, winter, and spring, expect moderate daytime temperatures and freezing to sub-zero temperatures at night. Summer temperatures during the day average 70 to 80 degrees, lows may drop to 40 degrees. Sand temperatures can reach 140 degrees in summer; shoes are highly recommended for hiking the dunes.
The Visitor Center and restrooms are fully accessible. There is an accessible trail at the visitor center, two accessible campsites and one backcountry accessible campsite.
Where to Stay at
Great Sand Dunes National Monument
Camping at Great Sand Dunes National Monument
Pinyon Flats Campground
Open All Year
Pinyon Flats campground is open year-round, and has 88 campsites available on a first-come, first-served basis. Fire grates, picnic tables, flush toilets and drinking water available. The campground is located in pinon/juniper forest and has excellent views of the dunes and the Sangre de Christo mountains. Winter low temperatures average between 0 and 13 degrees F. Fire wood can be purchased in the visitor center, open daily 8:30 am to 4:340 pm.
Activities and More Information
If possible, spend at least a few minutes hiking on the dunes. If you have more time, there are nature trails and longer trails and routes. You may observe flora and fauna, picnic, and camp in the campground or backcountry. Medano Creek, which flows at the base of the dunes during spring and early summer, allows for sand castle building and pleasant, refreshing hikes. In winter, its icy stillness is lovely!
Photographing the dunes, especially in late afternoon when the shadows deepen, is rewarding.
Wildlife sightings are common. Recent observations include mule deer, elk, coyotes, golden and bald eagles, ravens, magpies, and, just outside park boundaries, bison. Keep wildlife wild! Never feed wild animals--it's dangerous for you and unhealthy for them!
Allow about two hours to hike the dunes. 'Friends of the Dunes, Inc.' host several summer events: castle building and kite flying contest, summer concerts, seminars, and photography workshops.
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