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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.

Did this hike in 2013. Mostly you pave your own way up the creek and circling back over the dunes. Great experience on one of the few true dunes in U.S. We also took sleds down the dunes. It was a fun trip with my boys.

Hiked it about two years ago in summer, coulndt make it to the top because Im not use to the high altitud. It was very tiring but completely worth it. I do recommend to wear long sleeves and long pants if it is windy, sands does hit pretty hard. I also saw people sand boarding which looked really fun.

Great trail! Some snow coverage but good traction.

Great Campground! The Sand Dunes with the surrounding Mountains is Incredible!

hiking
2 months ago

This is an extremely difficult climb because of the deep sand but it is worth the workout. In warmer months where high socks and shoes as the sand is hot. I summited in about an hour but was extremely winded and I am an avid hiker in in pretty good shape. It is a beautiful place and unique landscape. Medano Creek is so much fun to explore.

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked the whole trail to the end and back. It led you through forests, side of the mountain and eventually to a grassland area. We went in October and choose a sunny day in the 60's to hike. It was the perfect temp! There's a old car hidden in the woods off to the right if you came from the entrance near the sand dunes. Took about 4 and a half hours with breaks and a kiddo.

Really difficult climb. We did all of it completely barefoot, which had its pros and cons. You get more traction with hiking boots but barefoot is more fun and challenging. If it is a hot day, shoes are a must. In fact, I can't imagine going here in the middle of summer, it would be brutally hot. A perfect day is partly cloudy and mid 50s. Views are incredible!

A short and easy loop mostly through the pretty hillside trees. There are a few nice views of the ridges above on the way up and out, as well as the dune field in the distance on the way back down. Definitely combine this with the Wellington Ditch Trail if possible for even better views of the amazing surrounding area.

During my visit in July, I started the trail from its southern end at the intersection where the Montville Nature Trail loops back to the trailhead, and near where the Mosca Pass Trail continues into the mountains. The views begin almost immediately, and are mostly unobstructed by the hillside trees. The higher perspective provides a wonderful view of the dune field, the grasslands and the surrounding Sangre De Cristo Mountains. With limited time, I wasn’t able to complete the entire trail. But it was definitely worth it for the beautiful panorama.

hiking
3 months ago

I had so much fun exploring Medano Creek and the amazing dune field, slowly working my way up from one ridge line to the next. The views are tremendous and so unique. I got close to the top of High Dune before I had to turn back. It was the last day of my late July vacation, and unfortunately I had a limited amount of time. I was lucky that the weather and partial cloud cover kept the sand from getting too hot during the middle of the day...also that Medano Creek was still flowing that late in the summer. The prairie sunflowers were just beginning to bloom as well. It was truly an awesome experience, and I hope to get back one day to explore again!

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing views!!! Hard going up but all worth it! Sandy shoes make it hard and heavy to go up. Hat, sun glasses and lots of water is a MUST. Dress in layers, the wind can feel chilly at times this time of the year. It was an amazing experience to do it with my daughter before she went off to college.
We did it in the summer months and the heat was incredible. Now in October it is quite different. Windy and cool but again all worth it once you reach the top. No open toe shoes!!!

hiking
4 months ago

Lots of effort, but so rewarding!

hiking
5 months ago

Amazing views, exhausting hike. Consider switchbacks when going up steeper sections, along with plenty of water.

Backpacked our way to the campsite right before treeline. Made it to Zapata lake the next day. Did this early june. Snow still present

Beautiful views during the setting sun. Makes for great dynamic contrast

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike

Great Park!

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail through the woods and then meadows filled with wildflowers. The trail does follow the Creek, but there are only a few easy points to drop in so the pups can drink. We saw a bear across the creek early on but he ran off and we didn't see any wildlife after that. We started the hike at 7am and got back to the TH at 10 on the dot, and then included plenty of picture stops! Didn't see anyone until we were half way back down, so early is the way to go for privacy, not to mention nice cool temps and that gorgeous golden light streaming through the trees. Perfect hike!

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