Geotourism Mapguide: A travel guide to the places most respected and recommended by locals.
  National Park or Monument

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

The Sangre de Cristo Mountains rise in dramatic contrast to the Great Sand Dunes. Photo from park entrance in June.
Two children enjoy the waves of Medano Creek in late spring
The lush vegetation of Mosca Creek contrasts with the stark environment of the nearby dunes. Montville Nature Trail, October.
The dunefield appears to be a sea of sand from the 750' Star Dune.
Lower Sand Creek Lake, Great Sand Dunes National Preserve, July 4

Explore the tallest dunes in North America, so big they would cover the city of Denver. The dunes are the centerpiece of a diverse landscape of grasslands, wetlands, conifer and aspen forests, alpine lakes, and tundra. The snow-capped Sangre de Cristo Mountains rise to 14,000 feet (4,300 meters), in stark contrast to the sea of sand below.

Recreational Opportunities

Whether hiking, sliding, or exploring in a dunes wheelchair, the Great Sand Dunes are a unique wilderness area protected for all to enjoy. Fly a kite, go birdwatching in the wetlands, or build a sand castle.

Water is the lifeblood of the Great Sand Dunes system. Streams begin as tundra snowfields, melting then flowing through alpine lakes, forests, dunes, grasslands, and lush wetlands. Explore the waters of Great Sand Dunes. Often called the Rocky Mountain Beach, Medano Creek, flows across the sand in the late spring, forming a natural beach environment at the base of the dunes. 

Explore the mountain watershed of the Great Sand Dunes. Rugged 13,000 feet summits, alpine lakes, tundra, and ancient forests are protected in Great Sand Dunes National Preserve. With high-clearance 4WD, ascend the Medano Pass Primitive Road.



Seasons Accessible

Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve is open 24 hours a day, all year. Each season at Great Sand Dunes holds special opportunities!   

Fees: Entrance fees are $3 per adult (age 16 and older). Entrance fees are valid for one week from date of purchase. Children are free at all times.

 ADA Accessibility Notes

´╗┐The closest parking to the dune field is the Dunes Parking Lot, located 1/2 mile north of the Visitor Center. There is an accessible mat from the dunes parking area for wheelchair access to the edge of the Medano Creek and the sand. There is also an accessible viewing platform just above the creek bed. However, beyond the edge of the dunes, loose sand and the creek make access into the dune field itself nearly impossible for those with traditional thin-wheeled chairs. A sand wheel chair may be borrowed at the Visitor Center.

 Pet Friendly Notes

Dogs are permitted on a leash up to the top of the first big ridge of dunes. In summer, plan to hike in early morning or evening to avoid a hot sand surface. A map of permitted pet areas and guidelines is available.

For More Information, Contact:

Patrick Myers
11999 State Highway 150, Mosca, CO 814146

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Boundaries and names shown do not necessarily reflect the map policy of National Geographic.

Latitude: 37.718590300
Longitude: -105.446777300
Elevation: 9441 FT (2878 M)
Meet the Contributor:
Patrick Myers
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