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Best Trails in Great Sand Dunes National Park

67 reviews

#4 of 15 National Parks in Colorado

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The tallest dunes in North America are up to 750 feet tall and neighbor grasslands, shrublands and wetlands. They were formed by sand deposits of the Rio Grande on the San Luis Valley, and the park also has alpine lakes, six 13,000-foot mountains, and ancient forests.

on High Dune Trail
5 days ago

Tough hike, really no trail, your kinda at the mercy of the dunes, walking in sand is always "2 steps forward, 1 step back" bring your "A" game for this, even if it isn't a real long hike

on South Zapata Lake Trail
9 days ago

hiking

on South Zapata Lake Trail
16 days ago

Beautiful trail. Moderate elevation change. Wildlife at the lake have been fed by hikers too much and are aggressive with begging. Water crossings are somewhat treacherous after storms. Be prepared to set up emergency shelter. I wont be doing this trail again.

on High Dune Trail
29 days ago

hiking

I didn't make it all the way to the top because it got too windy, but it was fun! Be careful when it gets super windy though... that sand can be painful.

on Mosca Pass Trail
1 month ago

hiking

My daughter and had a great day hiking this trail. It was the first time on this trail for us. It is well defined and beautiful from start to finish going from rocky hillside to wooded areas to open meadows,etc. My one recommendation is bring LOTS of bug spray. The mosquitos are intense!!

on High Dune Trail
1 month ago

hiking

on High Dune Trail
1 month ago

hiking

on High Dune Trail
2 months ago

Hard to get good footing but super rewarding at the top! Plus running back down to the bottom is a blast too!

on Dunes Trail from Pinyon Flats
3 months ago

hiking

good: shallow river, giant dunes, camping, clean bathrooms.

bad: wind + sand will exfoliate you like a sand blaster , kids/elderly even worse. if you see the sand pick up in a cloud find cover fast.

on Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp ...
3 months ago

hiking

Gorgeous views, the trail does a lot of unnecessary winding and is very sandy. Although the dunes are pretty from the trail, my trip got a hundred times better once I moved into the dune field and began backpacking through the dunes, even camping in the center of the dune field. It's hard work, but the experience is far more memorable and unique. I highly recommend that rather than the trail. Come in spring or early summer before it gets crazy busy or crazy hot, and the streams are still flowing

on High Dune Trail
3 months ago

Strenuous hike up to the top of the 2nd highest dune at the Great Sand Dunes. Be careful of the sand being extremely hot as the day progresses, and as such this can be dangerous to dogs as their footpads can be easily burnt. No real set route, but it's advisable to follow ridges as opposed to just walking straight up the face.

on High Dune Trail
3 months ago

Up the ante and go on an especially windy day. Felt like being on Everest!!!

on Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp ...
4 months ago

camping

As another reviewer pointed out, this trail is very sandy, so it was a lot more difficult than I expected. I camped at the Little Medano primitive site. From Point of No Return, it was 4 miles in. It took me at least 3 hours each way with a full pack because of the sand, hills, and heavy pack. Give yourself plenty of time if you have to set up campl. There are great views of the dunes and the valley until you pass Indian Grove. Then it's hills and trees. Both Medano and Little Medano were flowing, so there was a water supply when I went. I got a weak cell signal (Verizon) and there is a 4WD road that runs mostly paralel to the trail. It's far enough that you don't know it's there, but close enough that rangers can get to you if you get hurt. One party per primitive site, so if you want to get a permit (free), you should probably get there early. The ranger will tell you if the creeks are flowing.

on Pinion Flats Campground T...
4 months ago

camping

Typical national forest for fee campground. Adjacent to the Dunes. Great Facilities. I have camped here twice when visiting the Dunes.

on Dunes Trail from Pinyon F...
5 months ago

hiking

We hiked the dunes when there were 27 mph winds and it was pretty unpleasant most of the way. Once we got to the top, it was very rewarding, and it's really fun running down the dunes.

on High Dune Trail
6 months ago

hiking

Hard but extremely rewarding